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Mwingi Tragedy: Survivor Recounts Losing 11 Family Members

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A survivor has narrated how 11 family members perished in the Mwingi Tragedy that claimed at least 33 lives.

According to Rodgers Muli, his relatives had boarded the bus to attend their parents’ wedding. He stated that his parents, Mutua Mbuvi and Syombua Mbuvi, were expected to celebrate their wedding but now are in mourning.

The survivor was among the people who were in the overloaded St Joseph Seminary Mwingi bus that plunged into Enziu River on Saturday, December 4.

The Mwingi Bus Wreckage is pulled out of River Enziu on December 5, 2021.

Charity Ngilu

“The majority of the people who perished are from my family. My aunts, uncles. We were waiting for a body of a child to be retrieved and he has been recovered,” an emotional Muli spoke to the media.

Muli noted that their parents were still reeling in shock due to the tragedy and ultimately suspended the wedding.

The family members have now called on the government to act swiftly and build a bridge across the Enziu river. 

Further, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Youth Service (NYS) joined the Red Cross to aid in search and recovery mission. This saw eight more bodies pulled from the water Sunday evening, pushing the death toll to 33.

Earlier that day, two other bodies were retrieved from the river, including that of a nine-month-old  baby. The wreckage of the bus which was swept away by raging waters was also retrieved. 

Speaking on the issue, Kitui County Governor, Charity Ngilu, stated that recovery process was still ongoing.

“The ill fated bus wreckage has been retrieved from the river bed and the process of ascertaining whether there are any more bodies still trapped in the wreckage or the river bed continues.” she pointed out.

According to the survivors, the driver of the bus was reluctant about driving across the river. He allegedly took two hours before making the final decision to plough through the water.

A survivor, Simon Kea, narrated that the driver got confident after two matatus and some contractors crossed the flooded river. Some of the travelers who were stranded by the river banks also hopped onto the bus with the hope of getting to the other side.

“We were about 40 passengers when leaving Mwingi in the morning. Around 10 seats were empty. As we were crossing the river, the 51-seater bus was full with more than 15 people standing,” Kea told the media.

Mwingi residents mill around the accident scene where a bus drowned with 30 wedding guests on board at Enziu River in Mwingi on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

Mwingi residents mill around the accident scene where a bus drowned with 30 wedding guests on board at Enziu River in Mwingi on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

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