Dozens of members of a Kenyan church choir died after the bus they were travelling in plunged into Enziu River in the nation’s Kitui County, on Saturday.
On Sunday, divers recovered some seven bodies of the Mwingi Catholic Church choir members from the bus that was swept away from a bridge by the flooding river. This raises the death toll from the tragedy to over 30.
On Saturday, the bus was taking the church choir among other revellers to a wedding in Kitui county when it keeled over and sank beneath fast-flowing waters as the driver attempted to navigate a submerged bridge.
Reports indicate that 12 passengers managed to scramble to safety but the majority of those aboard the stricken bus were unable to escape before it was swallowed by the muddy tide.
The County Governor Charity Ngilu said 32 bodies had been retrieved since Saturday by military divers.
She however warned that the figures could rise further as the search and rescue operation continued.
“Today we have been able to retrieve seven. We still have more bodies in the bus,” she told reporters late Sunday.
It is very, very sad indeed. We have lost so many lives.”
It is still unclear how many passengers were aboard the bus when it tipped into the Enziu River, an area 200 kilometres east of the capital Nairobi.
Part of the passengers aboard the ill-fated bus were members of the bridal party, among them a woman, her three children and two grandchildren.
The choir members were set to sing at a wedding to solemnise the marriage union of the parents of one of its members.
Witnesses indicated that the driver had stopped to negotiate the river and was close to the other side when the bus was swept beneath the churning currents.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sunday sent his condolences to the families of the victims and called on Kenyans to be cautious on roads during the rainy season.
“Once again, the President wishes to remind Kenyans across the country to heed government advisory against attempting to cross swollen rivers, especially during the current rainy season,” a statement from Kenyatta’s office read.