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At least 23 die when bus heading to wedding swept into river in Kenya

The river in Mwingi, Kenya where at least 20 choir members died   -  
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Oduor, Michael/


At least 23 people died after a bus carrying choir members to a wedding plunged into a river in Kenya on Saturday, police said.

Mwingi East Sub-County Police Commander Joseph Yakan said the driver tried to steer the bus past a flooded bridge, but the strong current swept the vehicle into the river.

Police said 18 people were rescued.

The choir members of Mwingi Catholic Church had been traveling for their male colleague’s wedding when the accident occurred in Kitui County.

Officials said the incident is under investigation.

Onlookers screamed as the yellow school bus hired to take a church choir and other revelers to the ceremony in Kitui County keeled over and sank as the driver tried to navigate the surging waters.

Some aboard the stricken bus managed to escape before the bus was quickly submerged, and were helped to safety.

"We have this terrible, terrible accident that happened here this morning," Kitui governor Charity Ngilu told reporters.

"The bodies that have already been retrieved right now are over 23. We have more bodies in the bus," she said, adding that efforts to recover the corpses would resume on Sunday morning.

She said 18 people had been rescued, including four children.

It remains unclear how many passengers were aboard the bus when it tipped into the Enziu River, about 200 kilometres east of the capital Nairobi.

Witnesses said the driver had stopped to negotiate the river and was close to the other side when the bus was swept beneath the churning currents.

Deputy President William Ruto was among those to extend his condolences, and also urged motorists to apply extra caution on the roads with many parts of Kenya experiencing heavy rain.

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