A young man killed in a fiery car crash on a Perth highway at the weekend had only purchased the vehicle hours before his death, family have said.
Penuel Meli and Humphrey Ruto, first cousins once removed, died when the red Mazda CX-7 they were in drifted off Tonkin Hwy in Gosnells and hit a tree before bursting into flames at 2.10am on Sunday.
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They were the only people in the car that Meli had bought on Saturday, his uncle Mike Ronoh said.
“We’re devastated,” Ronoh told 7NEWS.com.au, describing his nephew as “kind” and someone who would always put his hand up when help was needed.
“It’s really hard to believe. I can’t believe it’s happening.”
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Ronoh broke the gut-wrenching news to family, including Meli’s brother and Ruto’s cousins who are based in Perth, as well as loved ones back in Kenya.
“I was broken. I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing,” he said of the moment police arrived at his door.
The two crash victims, aged in their early 20s, were from Nandi County in Kenya and Meli had only made the move to Perth in August 2023.
Humphrey studied at Perth’s Stott’s College, and Meli was a student at DNA Kingston Training in Belmont.
Meli’s school has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser on the family’s behalf, hoping to assist with funding repatriation and organising a fitting funeral.
Penuel Meli was killed in a car crash in Gosnells, just hours after buying a Mazda. Credit: Penuel Meli/FacebookHumphrey Ruto was a student at Perth’s Stott’s College. Credit: Humphrey Ruto/Facebook
Campaign organiser and schoolmate Paul Njogu said Meli was “jovial, kind and hardworking” and he was still coming to terms with his friend’s death.
“It’s hard to believe. You fight the fact you have to believe it. You don’t want to believe that this could happen to someone his age,” he told 7NEWS.com.au.
Police received reports the red Mazda was on fire near the Albany Hwy exit early on Sunday morning.
“It appears the vehicle left the road and hit a tree before catching alight,” WA Police said.
Paramedics and fire and rescue services also attended the crash, but the driver and passenger were declared dead at the scene.
The car burst into flames after hitting a tree. Credit: 7NEWS
Investigators from the Major Crash division are looking into the incident, including who was driving, and anyone with information should contact police.
The tragedy comes four months after another Kenyan student Orville Tures died in a drowning accident southeast of Perth.
Tures was remembered as a “humble and disciplined” person following his death at Stockton Lake, near Collie, in September 2023.