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Matatu crew warm hearts with heroic life-saving effort

The crew of a matatu which plies a town service route in Nairobi are the unlikely heroes of a tragic incident involving the death of a passenger under unclear circumstances.

On Tuesday evening, Ben Lagat, a tout of the matatu christened “Revelation” (KCA 261R) belonging to Umoinner Sacco which ply Umoja-Town route and his driver Emmanuel Ndunda, suddenly found themselves in an emergency which demanded their compassion and life saving skills.

The trip from the CBD to Umoja started without incident, until they got to the OTC stage when their attention was drawn to a commotion on the seat right behind the driver.

A woman alerted the conductor about another passenger seated next to her who had slumped on her, apparently after falling unconscious. Acting on instinct, Lagat opted to inspect situation.

“I tried to move him around but he was not moving, he seemed weak and the colour of his eyes had changed,” Lagat recounted the incident of the fateful evening to Nairobi News.

Caption: Emmanuel Ndunda (right) the driver of the Umoinner Sacco matatu christened 'Revelation' and his conductor Ben Lagat during the interview with Nairobi News. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
Caption: Emmanuel Ndunda (right) the driver of the Umoinner Sacco matatu christened ‘Revelation’ and his conductor Ben Lagat during the interview with Nairobi News. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

UNCONSCIOUS PASSENGER

The female passenger then took a newspaper and started fanning the unconscious passenger and also opened the windows to create fresh air.

By this time, the other passengers on board had been made aware of what was happening.

Lagat and a fellow conductor, also on board, then inquired from the passengers if any of them had medical experience and a woman seated at the back stepped forward to assist.

Meanwhile, the driver Ndunda was frantically racing against time as he sped and maneuvered through traffic to the nearest hospital. He opted for shortcuts through Makadara Law Courts, Jericho estate and finally to Metropolitan Hospital in Buruburu.

Once they got to the hospital, the two conductors and a passenger rushed to the casualty area, got a stretcher for the unconscious passenger and wheeled him to the medics on duty.

The matatu belonging to Umoinner Sacco. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
The matatu belonging to Umoinner Sacco. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

PASSED ON

That done, Ndunda resumed his trip to drop off the other passengers while the two conductors and two passengers remained behind at the hospital.

“Sadly, upon reaching Mtindwa, just as I was about to cross the Railway Crossing, I got a call from one of the conductors informing me that the passenger had passed on,” recalls Ndunda, who says he immediately pulled over to convey the sad news to his passengers.

He then requested the passengers to give him their contacts in case they are required to give more information about the deceased.

After dropping off all the passengers, Ndunda took the trouble to drive back to the hospital to follow up on the case.

From documents found in his pocket, the deceased was identified as Kapita Mathendu and his next of kin immediately contacted.

“We called some numbers on his phone and managed to get through to his wife, who rushed to the hospital and identified him as her husband,” narrated Ndunda.