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At least 48 people have been killed in a road accident at a busy junction in Kenya, police and witnesses say.

It happened after a lorry carrying a shipping container lost control at Londiani Junction, near the western town of Kericho, local media report.

Police commander Geoffrey Mayek said 30 others were seriously injured but added the number “could be more”.

He also raised concerns that “one or two” people could still be trapped underneath the overturned vehicle.

Tom Mboya Odero, another regional police commander, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying the lorry travelling towards Kericho “lost control and rammed into eight vehicles, several motorcycles, people who were by the roadside, vendors, and other people who were on other businesses”.

Eye witnesses told Kenyan media the driver had been trying to avoid a bus that had broken down on the road.

Kenyan president William Ruto said he had been distressed to hear that some of those killed were “young people with a promising future and business people who were on their daily chores”.

“We urge motorists to be extra cautious on roads, especially now when we are experiencing heavy rainfall,” Mr Ruto added in a tweet.

An image circulated online showed what appeared to be a red shipping container lying on its side at the bottom of a small grassy bank, at the side of a road.

The town’s governor, Dr Erick Mutai, described the incident as a “dark moment” for Kericho.

“My heart is crushed,” he said in a Facebook post, alongside the photograph of the container.

Dr Mutai added that the necessary emergency services had been deployed to the scene.

Rainfall is thought to be hindering rescue operations, according to local reports, but it is not clear if the weather played a part in the accident.

Road accidents are a well known problem in East Africa, because roads outside the bigger cities are often narrow.