At least 22 people have drowned after a bus carrying a group of Catholic church-goers was swept away by flood waters in Kenya. One priest is said to have lost 11 nieces in the incident.
Reports says at least 17 people were rescued after the bus was swept into the River Enziu.
It’s believed the driver tried to steer the vehicle past a flooded bridge in Kitui County, but the strong current swept it into the river.
The bus was carrying choir members from St James Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Mwingi. A local newspaper, The Star is reporting that 15 of the dead are members of the same family who were going to attend a wedding of an elderly couple.
Footage aired on local television showed a yellow bus, with branding on the side showing it belongs to a local seminary, driving into the swollen river as a crowd of locals looked on.
The bus is then seen disappearing into the waters midway across, causing frantic wailing among the onlookers.
The Star published a communication circulated to members from the church leadership :
“Dear parishioners and friends of St. James. Allow me to inform you that our Catholic Church choir of the Good Shepherd – Mwingi were today involved in a tragic road accident on their way to attend a wedding for Fr Benson Kityambu’s brother at Nuu. As the driver tried to cross the Enziu river, the St. Joseph’s Seminary bus lost control and was swept away by the strength of the water. So far, we have lost 22 members, some are bodies still being searched, some saved and rushed to Mwingi Level 4 Hospital. Fr Kityambu has lost 11 nieces. We have also lost religious brothers who work in seminary.
Beloved, let’s continue praying for the repose of the souls of the faithful departed.”
Many parts of the East African nation have been experiencing unusually heavy rainfall in the past week.