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The Mutindwa Railway Crossing was an accident
waiting to happen.
Market stalls are as close as 20 metres from the
railway line and it gets worse in the evenings, as
more hawkers display their wares nearer to the
railway line.
Witnesses said the ill-fated matatu, was playing loud
music and the driver ignored directions by a traffic
policeman to stop and give way to the train to pass,
bulldozing his way to the waiting death trap.
A witness, Mr John Okuthe, said the driver defied the
orders to stop, and instead retorted to the policeman,
who was controlling traffic crossing the railway line
either to the Umoja or Buru Buru side, that he was a
trained driver.
“The train’s horn was blaring and the policeman was
trying to stop the matatu from crossing its path, but
the driver shot back that he was trained and drove
on,” he said.
By the time the driver was crossing the railway line,
where it was hit on the side in the middle and
dragged for several meters, the police officer had
given up and was gesturing to the driver to use his
head.
When he realized the mini-bus had stalled in the
middle of the railway track, and there would be an
imminent collision, the driver jumped out and
disappeared through the crowds.
The confusion from the impact, and the resulting
casualties, gave the driver a slim chance to escape
the wrath of the mob, which had seen the events
unfold, and were threatening to lynch him.
WRECKAGE DRAGGED
A survivor of the early morning accident, Mr Evans
Machasio, said he saw the train coming towards
where he was seated, and the next thing he knew
was that he had been thrown out of the bus, as the
rest of the wreckage, was dragged by the fast
moving locomotive.
Mr Machasio, who sustained head and hand injuries,
was one of the lucky survivors of the grisly accident
that had by yesterday claimed 12 lives.
The 29-year-old Kenya Commercial Bank clerk at the
Nairobi High Court branch, was going to work, when
the accident occurred.
He was treated at the Mama Lucy Kibaki hospital and
discharged.
Another witness, Mr Paul Haggai, said he was praying
at a nearby SDA church, when he heard the loud
hoots of an approaching train, followed by a loud
impact.
Coming out of the church, he saw three bodies
strewn at the scene of the collision. He was involved
in rescuing at least six people from the mangled bus,
saying at least three vehicles, belonging to well-
wishers, took the injured to hospital.
“They all had bad injuries and most could not
recollect what had happened,” he said.
Mr Haggai said the driver of the train, entered the
church, knelt down, prayed and kept on saying he
was sorry. The Sunday school teacher corroborated
information that the matatu had been playing loud
music, saying it could have caused the driver to
underestimate the closeness of the train’s hooting,
which had been significantly close at the time he
tried to cross the railway line, ferrying passengers to
the city.
Market stalls that are near the railway line make it
difficult for motorists to see an oncoming train,
unless they drive much closer to the train’s path.
There were reports that some of the casualties were
bystanders, who were hit by the matatu that was
being dragged, with one man reportedly dying on the
spot and several school children injured.
Occupants of a saloon car, which had just passed the
crossing, but was hit by the bus as it was being
dragged by the train, escaped death narrowly, after
the bus was thrust and hit the vehicle on the side.

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