By David Muchui
Seven people including five family members died on the spot while seven passengers in a Matatu escaped narrowly after a fuel tanker overturned and caught fire at Iraru Bridge along Meru-Nairobi road.
According to eye witnesses, the tanker lost control, hit an oncoming private vehicle and overturned before bursting into flames as burning fuel flowed on Iraru River.
The tanker was transporting fuel to Meru while the occupant of the private vehicle are said to have been heading for a burial of their kin in Chuka at around 1 pm.
“I was driving towards Nairobi when I saw the tanker swerving. It hit the bridge guardrails and burst into flames. I pulled off and we managed to vacate the Matatu before fire caught up with us.
We could not save any one because of the intense fire,” said Mr. Ambrose Kimani, the Matatu driver.
“We thank God that we were able to escape to safety before the Nissan caught fire. We had to watch helplessly as the vehicles were consumed by the fire,” Flora Mugure a passenger said.
The gory accident stalled traffic along the busy highway as fire fighters struggled to extinguish the fire and remove the wreckage of the three vehicles.
Meru County governor Peter Munya who arrived at the scene accompanied by various leaders said there is need for a lasting solution to road carnage in the country.
“This is a very sad incident as we have lost seven lives. It is the high time the national government came up with radical solutions to curb road accidents. Something should be done to transform the traffic department,” Munya said.
He said the national government should devolve the traffic control functions as provided by law to ease management of traffic in the country.