CS Nkaisserry describes Naivasha oil tanker accident as a “national disaster” as death toll hits 40

A horrific multi-car road accident in Naivasha has killed at least 40 people after an oil truck spiralled out of control and collided with oncoming traffic, before bursting into flames and sending a huge fireball skywards.

At the scene this morning there are reports of 12 burnt out vehicles and two bumps at the section of road where the accident occurred.

According to witnesses, the tanker may have lost control due to a bump on the road, that they claim it’s not easily visible at night and have now called for the bump to be removed.

According to The Daily Nation, Naivasha Sub County Commissioner Isaac Masinde claimed the accident along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway had claimed the lives of at least 40 people.

However, authorities fear that the death toll could rise even higher given the number of vehicles involved.

“This is a serious chemical incident. Police and other rescuers are still on the scene … clearing debris.”

– Mwachi Pius Mwachi, Deputy Director and Communications Officer for the National Disaster Management Unit

Witnesses reported that the truck driver lost control on a downhill stretch before ramming into a matatu before exploding near the Karai area in Naivasha, a busy highway around 80 kilometers west of Nairobi.

Huge flames followed the initial explosion, quickly spreading to the other vehicles reducing them to husks.

Francis Meja, head of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) confirmed that 12 vehicles were burned in the incident, adding that all 14 passengers in the matatu burned alive.

“I was a distance away and that enabled me to slow down and reverse. It was a huge explosion and other motorists had little chance to react.”

– Witness, Peter Njoroge

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaisserry said “Our thoughts and hearts go out to the families affected by the tragedy.”

After describing the incident as a “national tragedy”, he added: “we have to be sympathetic to the families involved.”

Naivash tragedy
Joseph Nkaisserry speaking at a press conference following the Naivasha tragedy. Photo: Twitter/GenNkaisserry

CS Nkaisserry also thanked those who helped to evacuate the people and clear the scene.”

The Kenya Red Cross earlier reported that 30 bodies were pulled from the wreckage and taken to Naivasha Sub-County Hospital Mortuary.

Deputy President William Ruto issued a message of condolence through his Twitter account and urged motorists to be careful on the roads.

“May the departed souls rest in peace. I urge motorists to be cautious and adhere to traffic rules to avoid deaths, pain and suffering,” the Deputy President said.

The accident, which caused heavy traffic along the busy highway, is currently under investigation.