Survivors at Precious Talents Academy recall horror that ended young lives

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019 00:00 |
Some parents and guardians wait for their children outside Kenyatta National Hospital. Photo/PD/BERNARD MALONZA

Survivors of the Precious Talents Academy tragedy yesterday recalled the horrifying moment when the roof of their classroom came down, killing seven of their colleagues and injuring tens of others.

“It was a few minutes to 7.00am and we were preparing to start our lessons. No sooner had we settled than we heard a loud bang and we ran towards the direction of the staffroom but the roof suddenly fell on us,” Joseph Mwangi, a Standard Eight pupil, told the media a few minutes after he was discharged from hospital.

Mwangi said when he left home that morning, he was in high spirits and determined to make the most of the day in his preparation for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam in about a month’s time.

“No one could imagine such a thing could happen. We are terrified and worried about how we will sit our KCPE exam,” said Mwangi.

Prince Daniel of  Standard Two tearfully narrated how he was taken to school by his mother only a few minutes before the roof came down.

“I am so happy to see my mum,” said Daniel “Some of my classmates were hurt by falling iron sheets.” 

Nothing was done

The top floor of the collapsed building housed the junior primary pupils while the ground floor was occupied by classes six, seven and eight.

Stacey Ngami of Standard Six said they once complained about their safety when they noticed that the building shook whenever there was a strong wind but nothing was done about it.

“When you carried something heavy upstairs, you could feel the stairs shake,” said Ngami. 

She said most of her classmates died or were seriously injured as they scampered for safety, with some opting to jump from the second floor, instead of using stairs.

“While some of us managed to run away, others got trapped and it was too late for them,” an emotional Ngami recalled.

At Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) 60 pupils were treated and discharged while four were admitted for further attention.

The hospital acting CEO Evanson Kimuri said most of the pupils suffered injuries on the head, face and the ribs.

“Most of the children were treated and discharged. Only four are admitted,” said Kimuri.

John Masawe and June Wanjiru, parents of a Standard Three pupil who was treated and discharged, blamed the school administration of not acting on their children’s concerns about the safety of the classrooms.

Wanjiru said most of the parents in Ngando Ward took their children to the school as the area has no public school.

“The school charges close to Sh40,000 a term yet they cannot do anything about the poor infrastructure which we are told was approved by greedy county officials,” said Wanjiru.

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