by the CNS and staff editors
A Kenyan bishop appealed for hope as his diocese continued to mourn the deaths of at least 32 people, killed when a bus carrying a Catholic choir plunged into the swollen Enziu River.
The Good Shepherd Parish Choir in Mwingi had hired a bus from the church seminary to transport members and parents to a vow renewal for an elderly couple. One family lost 11 members. At least 30 people were rescued.
Witnesses said the driver was attempting to cross white water while passing over a bridge, but the force was too strong, sweeping the bus under the swirling currents.
“It is very sad. The people are devastated, but we walk with them,” said Bishop Joseph Mwongela of Kitui.
âWe want them to have hope. It has happened, but Advent is a time of hope.
âPeople had bonded very well. They were very close to each other.
Father Michael Ngunia of Good Shephard Parish expressed shock and sorrow that people died on their way to a joyous event.
âThe choir sang and danced on the river bank in preparation for the wedding. Moments later, many of them were dead. It’s very hard on the community, âsaid Father Ngunia.
Bishop Mwongela said the church had sent teams to offer psychosocial support to families and planned a memorial mass for the victims.
âThey promised to build a bridge over this river, but I think they should also focus on all the other (bridges), here and beyond, where there are no bridges,â he said. ‘bishop.
The bus, which can hold 51 people, was reportedly overloaded after more people jumped on board as it began to cross the swollen river.
President Uhuru Kenyatta sent his condolences to the families of the victims and urged Kenyans to avoid crossing swollen rivers during the rainy season.