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Friday, 25 August, 2000, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Kenya bus hurtles into river
 the bus plunged off the notorious Nithi Bridge, about 50 kilometres from Meru town.
The latest in a spate of major transport accidents
By East Africa correspondent Cathy Jenkins

At least 45 people were killed on Thursday when a bus plunged off a bridge into a river in eastern Kenya.

The bus was travelling to the Indian Ocean port city of Mombasa when the accident happened on Thursday evening.

Route of the ill-fated bus
The high bridge which spans the Nithi river in eastern Kenya is a notorious black spot: at least 158 people have now died there in the past five years.

The bus involved in the latest accident ploughed over the edge of the bridge into the water below.

At least 27 people survived. They were rushed 30km to a mission hospital, the nearest place where they could receive treatment.

Police fear the death toll will rise because some victims may still be trapped in the wreckage.

The bus had an official capacity of 65 but it was believed to be carrying at least 80 passengers.

Greedy drivers blamed

Speeding and overloading on buses is a common problem in Kenya where regulations are often ignored and passengers are squeezed into every available space so that the bus operators get the maximum profit.

Two years ago, 56 people died in a similar incident at the bridge.

Kenya has been hit by a spate of transport disasters over the past few weeks.

Six days ago a train laden with gas exploded near Nairobi, killing 29 people.

The previous week at least 10 people died when a passenger train derailed in western Kenya.

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21 Aug 00 | Africa
Kenya's crumbling railways
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