The quirky games fate plays on us mere mortals we shall never understand. For instance, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju (pictured)
survived a plane crash 17 years ago but was on Wednesday involved in a serious accident. Doctors at Karen Hospital have assured he is in a stable condition.
SEE ALSO :I’ll defend my seat in March, says Tuju
He was among 18 people involved in a road crash at Magina along the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway. On January 24, 2003 Tuju was involved in a plane crash that killed one minister and two pilots. Tuju, then Information and Communications minister, was in the company of Narc politicians who had gone to Busia for a homecoming party to celebrate their three-weeks-old election win.
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He was in the company of Robinson Githae, Wanjiru Kihoro, George Khaniri, Martha Karua and Linah Jebii Kilimo among others. Moody Awori, a minister of Home Affairs at the time, had hosted them at his Funyula home.
SEE ALSO :Tuju now barred from disposing of properties in Sh1.5b loan dispute
After the party, they boarded a 24-seater Gulfstream at Busia Airstrip for Kisumu. The plane hit a power line on take-off and crashed. Labour Minister Mohammed Khalif together with two pilots died with the others sustaining injuries. Ms Kihoro stayed in a coma after the accident for four years. She was one of the founders of the pan-African women's organisation (Akina Mama wa Afrika) and the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya. According to a BBC report quoting the then transport Minister John Michuki, the plane was too heavy at 16 tonnes to take off at a runway designed for five-tonne aircraft.
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Tuju told KTN News’ Untold Story in 2017 that he cheated death after he found the late Ahmed Khalif on the seat that had been designated for him at the front of the plane. He, therefore, took one at the back of the ill-fated Gulfstream. “Khalif had gone to the mosque and we were waiting for him. It took too long and it was getting hot. So I walked out to the pilot and asked why we were still there” Tuju told KTN. “When Khalif arrived, he went and sat on my seat at the front. I couldn’t tell him to leave my seat. Unfortunately, when the plane crashed he (Khalif) hit his head on the barrier and died,” Tuju said, describing the event as a very traumatic experience. He said that he was conscious as the plane hit the power lines and crashed into a house.
SEE ALSO :Tuju fights Sh1.5b loan case ruling by UK court
“The electric wires helped to slow the plane down as it crashed. I am grateful there was a power failure, the plane would have been ignited and blown up.” He explained that he clawed himself from death through a window that broke on impact. “As I got out, fuel was gushing out of the wings and my fear was that the plane was going to blow up. We quickly jumped from the roof”. The owner of the house where the plane rested on, survived the crash after he postponed moving into the newly-built house by a week.
Back to the Wednesday accident, medics at AIC Kijabe Hospital, who swiftly attended to the accident victims say three patients were treated and discharged on the same day, seven are admitted at the facility after being operated on for soft tissue, long bone and head injuries. Another five are admitted for observation and care. Three of the five are in High Dependency Units (HDU). The doctors add that three, including Raphael Tuju, were airlifted for treatment in Nairobi. Tuju was airlifted to Karen Hospital after the medics at Kijabe operated on him to stop internal bleeding in his abdomen. Sources who have visited him at the hospital say the cabinet secretary complained of chest pains but was out of danger.
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