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KU students heading to all-white party die in grisly road accident

What was meant to be a night of partying for seven friends ended tragically in a horrific road accident that claimed the lives of six students and two drivers.

The seven — all university students — had set out on the trip from Nairobi to Magena, Kisii County, where they were to join their friends in merry-making.

Etora area in Sameta, along the Kisii-Kilgoris highway, is about 12 kilometres to Magena, where the party was to take place Friday night.

At the scene, residents milled to see the wreckage of the two badly smashed up vehicles. Those who were first at the scene came face to face with traumatising images, with some bodies still trapped in the vehicles.

ONLOOKERS

Police had a rough time getting through the crowd of onlookers.

The dead were identified as Vina Morangi Isoe, 20, and her sister Valarie Isoe, 18, both students at Kenyatta University. Vina studied Education while her sister was a Bachelor of Commerce student.

Others included Pauline Nyanchama, Mary Orina, a Bachelor of Commerce student at Kenyatta University, Dorothy Nyakerario, a catering student at Utalii College and Duncan Nyanaro of Dedan Kimathi University. Their driver also perished but was not immediately identified.

Miraculously, one student, Mercy Nyambeki, 22, also a learner at Kenyatta University, survived and is recovering at the Kisii Level Five Hospital.

On Saturday, family, relatives and friends were in mourning after news of the accident broke.

At Nyamataro Estate in Kisii town, the home of Mrs Rachael Isoe, mourners sobbed uncontrollably after the death of her daughters Valarie and Vina.

The girls’ grandfather Simon Masire said; “We were at home when their mother called to inform us that they had been involved in an accident.”

BODIES

“We had thought they had incurred injuries but upon visiting the hospital we were ushered into the morgue where we found the bodies.”

He said his daughter-in-law Rachael was away in Meru to attend a funeral when she received the news.

The girls’ only brother Adrian, 16, said his sisters had sent him a text that they were in Kisii but pleaded with him not to disclose the matter to family members.

“They sent me the text at around 11am on Friday. I never heard from them again. I’m shocked that they are no more,” he said.

Elsewhere, the family of Ms Nyakerario (Utalii student) was in the middle of another tragedy, after losing their grandfather two days ago.

Her father, Stima Basweti, was keeping vigil at his home in Omogonchoro, Nyamira County, when he received the tragic news.

The students, all clad in white, had taken a group photo, and posted it in their social media pages hours before the accident happened. The pictures were widely shared for the better part of on Saturday.

The accident occurred when their vehicle collided with an oncoming saloon car, whose driver also died.

Witnesses said that the driver of the saloon car was overtaking a lorry.

ONCOMING VEHICLE

“The small car, which was heading towards Kisii town overtook my lorry but unfortunately collided with the oncoming vehicle ferrying the students,” said Mr Richard Matoke, the lorry driver, who is nursing leg injuries at the Kisii level Five hospital.

“Both vehicles were speeding. It happened so fast. I could not help it. After the collision, the vehicle ferrying the students was thrown towards my lorry by the impact. That’s how I sustained injuries on my legs,” he said.

On Saturday, Kenyatta University Student Association president Mr Sam Were, said the students were among a group of 16 friends that left Nairobi for Kisii in two Toyota cars — a Noah and a Voxy.

He said the cars arrived in Kisii at 7 pm on Friday where the group in the Noah headed to the home where they were to hold a party while those in the Voxy stayed in Kisii to wait for a friend. Incidentally, all the students from the Kenyatta University travelled in the Noah.

“In the Voxy, I’m told there were three students from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, two students from the University of Nairobi, one from Kabete Technical, and a driver,” Mr Were said.

Mr Were had spoken to a lady from UoN who was among the team in the Voxy.

Mr Were said that the Voxy, having picked the passenger that its occupants were waiting for in Kisii, had passed by the scene of the accident. It is only when they arrived at the venue of the party that they learnt of the tragedy.

HAD DRINKS

Earlier on, the students had been spotted at a pub in Mwembe Estate where they had drinks before they drove towards Ogembo. At the accident scene, several beer cans littered the area.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the girls in the Voxy said the party had been planned via a WhatsApp group and was being hosted by a student at the Dedan Kimathi University.

She was, however, non-commital when asked what they were going to celebrate.

In a shocking admission that the travellers were taking alcohol, one of the travellers in the Noah allegedly sent a message to a friend expressing how she felt “on top of air”.

Sijui ni Konyagi nimekunywa (I don’t know if it is because of the Konyagi I’ve drunk),” she typed in a message shown to the Sunday Nation, sent at 5.44 pm on Friday.

Meanwhile, Kisii Level Five hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Enoch Ondari said three people have been admitted at the facility and were responding well to treatment.

“Of the three, one has pelvic injuries while the others have head injuries,” Dr Ondari said.

Kisii Governor James Ongwae described the incident as sad.

“It is indeed sad to lose lives through road carnage. I stand with the families of the deceased at this difficult moment and wish the injured quick recovery. As a county government, we shall do everything possible to assist the affected families handle this tragedy,” he said in a statement.

He also asked drivers to exercise caution on the roads to avoid a recurrence of the “regrettable incident”.