At least 23 people have been confirmed dead after a bus they were traveling in plunged into Enziu River in Mwingi East area of Kitui County on Saturday.
An operation led by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) saw more bodies recovered on Saturday night before the operation was suspended till Sunday morning.
The 51-seater bus belonging to Mwingi Junior Seminary, a Catholic Church- run private school, was ferrying the choir members to Nuu area from Mwingi town to attend a wedding ceremony.
Mwingi East Sub-County Police Commander Joseph Yakan said the accident was caused by water tides that were too strong, sweeping the bus into the river despite attempts by the driver to control the vehicle.
In videos making rounds on social media, the bus was captured shortly before it plunged into the river with passengers screaming for help.
A school bus has been swept away by water when crossing Enziu River at Nuu Ward in Mwingi, Kitui County. Rescue operations underway. pic.twitter.com/z9wUonvVHA
— 𝐉𝐆 (@JamalGaddafi) December 4, 2021
Reports indicate 15 of those dead are from the family whose 70-year-old parents were to solemnise their marriage.
Among the dead, police said, was the daughter of the bridegroom identified as Jane Mutua and three children.
The ill-fated bus was reportedly carrying 68 people at the time of accident.
Twelve people survived the incident. The survivors were rushed to Mwingi Level Four Hospital for emergency treatment. A total of 35 persons are yet to be accounted for.
As condolences continue to pour in, it has emerged that the driver of the vehicle was under pressure from the passengers to cross the flooded river after seeing that they were running late.
“We have established that some passengers were putting pressure on the bus driver to cross the flooded river, but he insisted that he wasn’t familiar with River Enziu Bridge,” said Justus Musyoka, an official at Mwingi Catholic Parish.