Death toll of truck crash in western Kenya rises to 52

Truck carrying a shipping container veered out of control and ploughed into multiple other vehicles and people thronging a busy roadside junction

The death toll of a road crash in western Kenya on Sunday has risen to 52, officials said, as rescuers worked to clear the wreckage from one of the deadliest traffic incidents in the country in recent years.

A truck carrying a shipping container veered out of control and ploughed into multiple other vehicles and people thronging a busy roadside junction on Friday evening, plunging the nation into shock and mourning.

Erick Mutai, the governor of Kericho county, where the crash occurred, gave an updated death toll of 52 and said it included 31 men, 18 women and two children.

The transport minister, Kipchumba Murkomen, said on a visit to the crash site at Londiani junction that new safety measures would be introduced after what he described as a “terrible” and “painful” tragedy. “Investigations have been launched to establish the cause of this accident, but we urge drivers to be cautious and follow the rules,” he told reporters. In a later statement he also gave a death toll of 52 and said 32 people injured, adding that the truck involved was registered in Rwanda.


The Kenyan station Citizen TV reported that the vehicle’s driver had died, but this could not immediately be confirmed independently.

The trailer rammed into private cars, minibuses, boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) and market stalls on the side of a busy highway between the lakeside town of Nakuru and Kericho, an area known for its lush tea plantations.

Footage emerged late on Friday showing the mangled wreckage of multiple vehicles as rescuers worked in the dark in pouring rain and ambulance sirens wailed.

On Saturday large crowds of onlookers were at the scene, where the overturned container was stuck in a ditch. Debris, including car seats, piles of fruit, a damaged axle and a lone black boot, was strewn across a wide area.

“The accident happened in a flash. Many of them had no time to escape,” said one witness, Joel Rotich. “There was a lot of confusion because people were screaming all over and everyone was running after the accident.”

Murkomen said on Saturday that the government planned to arrange for street traders to move from roadside areas to designated markets in an effort to avoid such catastrophes in future. He also called for increased safety measures at the site of the accident and for long-distance truck drivers to ensure that they take proper rest breaks and take refresher courses.

According to figures from Kenya’s national transport and safety authority, at least 21,760 people were involved in road accidents last year, and 4,690 died.

The World Health Organisation said in September last year that Africa had the highest rate of road traffic fatalities in the world, with more than 800 people killed every day.