Today in history


Village Elder

On this day, 41 years ago, an express Mombasa-Nairobi passenger train, carrying 600 passengers plunged from a washed out bridge into a flooding river at Kathekani.

12 people were killed and 70 injured in what railroad officials described as the worst passenger train disaster in East African history at that time.

Scores of people were trapped for hours in one car which got stuck in the mud of the rain-swollen river.

The derailment occured at 2.00 am when most people were asleep, as the train roared through a thunderstorm across a river bridge near Kathekani station.

The water level had risen 20 feet in the hours before the train arrived and swept away part of the concrete support of the bridge and the rails.

"The noise of the crash was incredible like God coming to visit us," said Onyango Ohulu who was a passenger, " Then there was nothing but silence."

"I couldn't feel or see anything i was trapped in my compartment for nine hours. I was submerged into water upto my neck."

Among those on the train were 17 American students, Peace Corp volunteers and UNESCO delegates.