Arusha bids farewell to pupils killed in van mishap

ARUSHA: IT was a grieving day on Sunday as hundreds of Arusha residents gathered to pay their last respects to bodies of eight school children who died after their school vehicle was swept by floods in Sinoni Ward on the outskirts of Arusha last Friday.

The accident occurred at around 6.30 am when the school bus was taking the children to school. The farewell that was held at Sinon Secondary School also included paying respects to the body of one person identified as Brian Taragie, who died during rescue operation.

Particularly, activities were brought to a standstill for hours for Sinon residents, after hundreds of the mourners flocked the area to bid final goodbye to the bodies of the kids and that of Taragie.

Speaking at the occasion, Arusha District Commissioner Mr Felician Mtahengerwa demanded drivers to take caution and drive safely in rainy season.

“Driving in the rainy season requires extra caution and attention,” he said, while issuing an order to all school vehicles in the city to pick school children starting from 7:30 am and not 6:00 pm during rainy days.

“From today, if it rains, school vehicles will pick children from 7:30am and not otherwise. We don’t want to see a tragedy of this nature again. Also, parents you need to take precaution and don’t let your children go to school if there is extremely bad weather condition,” he said.

Elaborating, he noted that the government has provided condolence of about 14m/- to families that lost their children in the tragedy. Mr Mtahengerwa, who represented Arusha Regional Commissioner, Mr Paul Makonda, also handed over 5m/- provided by President Samia Suluhu Hassan as condolence to the family of Mr Brian Taragie for his heroic activity in the rescue mission.

In the tragedy, the School Bus with registration number T496 EFK belonging to Ghati Memorial Schools was swept by the heavy floods when the driver attempted to cross Muriet River that was overflown.

In the course, rescuers managed to save three children and two adults, while the remaining seven kids were swept away in the ill-fated bus. Struggling to rescue the children in the raging river, it was not possible and in the process they only managed to pull out two bodies ashore.

Commenting, eye witnesses said that the driver of the school bus was warned in advance not to cross the raging river, but he ignored and continued with his mission in vain. Member of Parliament for Arusha Urban, Mrisho Gambo who visited the area said the region has lost a future generation.

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