Monday, March 4, 2013

Kenya: Enroute to Mobasa Airport, Tour-Bus Carrying British Tourists Slides Down Embankment, Flips Over

Fifteen British tourists being transported to Mombasa's Moi International Airport at 0700 hours on Saturday (March 2) had a terrifying experience when their tour-bus plunged some sixteen feet down an embankment and flipped over on its side.

The tour-bus driver veered off a roadway en-route to the airport in order to avoid a truck that suddenly stopped; a witness said later that the driver struggled to control the bus after a tanker-truck spilled a large volume of water all over the road.

The injured were subsequently taken to two hospitals in Mombasa, although some were quickly discharged. Two of the passengers were reportedly admitted to the hospital and one was said to be in a serious condition.

COMMENT: Seven of the fifteen passengers on the tour-bus were able to make their scheduled flights, while others made later flights after they were deemed to be medically qualified to fly home.

The 24-passenger tour-bus was not full. Those on the bus included the driver, a representative of the travel company and the 15 Britons.

The British High Commission was also contacted and asked to assist the British travelers.

Kenyan police have opened an investigation into Kenya's continuing high accident rate which threatens both residents and tourists alike.  

As I have said in the past, and particularly in the case of developing countries, tour-bus accidents are a frequent occurrence. 

Although it is easy to understand why tour operators arrange for groups to travel together in large tour-buses, the fact is that bus accidents are a frequent occurrence throughout the world, particularly in nations with very poor road conditions such as Kenya.

Needless to say, the company providing ground transportation, knowing that the number of tourists was only 15, should have arranged for a smaller bus to transport them the short distance to the airport, thereby sparing them a traumatic experience.

As I have often said in the past, it is essential that all foreign travelers subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage in the event they are injured or become ill in a developing country where their home-based medical coverage is often not recognized and where payment is often required before treatment.