Nairobi-bound passenger who ‘died’ in wife’s dream survived real crash
Mr Abdulrashid Mohammed still cannot believe his luck. He was one of the passengers who survived when the 62-seater bus they were travelling in from Wajir to Nairobi was involved in an accident in Matuu town on the Garissa-Nairobi highway at 4:33am on Wednesday.
Mr Mohammed recalls that shortly after the bus, named Medina, passed Mwingi town, he received a call from his anxious wife, who had just woken up from a dream in which he had ‘died’ in a road accident. He reassured her that he was fine, and told her to go back to sleep.
Thirty minutes later, Mr Mohammed, somewhat unsettled by his wife’s dream, watched the bus ram into a stationary lorry in Matuu Town, Machakos County.
“I heard a loud bang on the left side of the bus, followed by wailing as the bus veered off the road and then stopped.
‘‘I jumped out through a window,” he told the Nation after being treated for slight bruises on his hands and discharged from Matuu Sub-county Hospital.
MEANING OF DREAM
The businessman, who had occupied seat number 43 on the right side of the bus, was yet to understand the meaning of his wife’s dream, but he was happy to have survived.
The left side of the bus was ripped off, killing 14 passengers on the spot and injuring 27 others. The victims were 10 men, three women and a child.
Ten of the injured were referred to hospitals in Nairobi for specialised treatment while the rest were treated and discharged.
The accident occurred on a straight stretch of the highway.
“We kept complaining to the driver about loud music and speeding, but he turned a deaf ear,” Mr Mohammed said.
Mr Mohammed Issack, who lost a brother, was shocked to learn that the bus had been involved in an accident so early in the morning.
“The bus normally arrives in Nairobi at 2pm. We can’t understand how it reached Matuu town at 4:30am, so the driver must have been speeding,” said Mr Issack who had come to collect his brother’s body for burial.
DRIVER WAS TIRED?
Machakos County Police Commander Mohammed Farah said police are investigating the cause of the accident, including the possibility that the driver was tired after many hours on the road, or was speeding.
The truck, which was transporting raw gypsum from Garissa, was parked by the road just minutes before the accident after it developed mechanical problems.
The bus driver appeared to have slightly veered off his lane, as if he was overtaking, but ended up hitting the lorry.
“We cannot, at this moment, say with certainty what transpired but the truck driver was promptly arrested and put in custody at Matuu Police Station as investigations continue,” Mr Farah told the Nation at the scene.
Detectives are keen to establish how the bus covered more than 1,000 kilometres in 22 hours, with several stops on the way.
The bus, which left Mandera town at 8:30am on Tuesday, travelled past Elwak, Wajir, Garissa, Mwingi and Thika on its way to Nairobi.
This route is 1,200 kilometres long. At the time of the accident, the bus had only 106 kilometres more to cover. Ordinarily, the journey takes at least 30 hours.
HOW MANY DRIVERS ASSIGNED
Mr Farah said his officers would question the bus owners to establish how many drivers had been assigned to the bus.
“We collected 14 bodies at the accident scene, some trapped in the mangled wreckage. We helped rush the injured to hospital,” he said.
The police commander added that the bus driver, who fled after the accident, is being sought by detectives to record a statement on what transpired.
He said government regulations stipulate that long-distance buses be assigned two drivers, and that the bus company would be at fault if it had assigned the bus only one driver.
Meanwhile, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua has blamed the accident on lack of enforcement of traffic laws.
He said parking stalled vehicles close to the road is dangerous, and that they should be pushed off the road the minute they develop problems.