Expert diver joins operation to retrieve bodies of Likoni ferry accident

Saturday, October 5th, 2019 00:00 |
Passengers embark from a ferry at the Lokoni Crossing Channel last month. PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

The search mission for bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu, who drowned in the Likoni channel after their vehicle slipped off a ferry midstream, were bolstered after a Swedish expert diver Volker Bassen joined the operation.

By Friday evening, Bassen had made his first dive in the deep waters after a probable location of the vehicle and bodies had been sighted even as the search entered its sixth day.

Government Spokesman Cyrus Oguna Friday said the diver had joined the mission and will be under the command of Kenya Navy, who are leading the search.

"We are happy to have  been  joined by private divers. One is a Swedish based in Kenya and he will be under the command of Kenya Navy. We welcome any other added support which will add strength to this mission provided that he will abide by the guidelines of our operation," Oguna said.

At exactly 11am, Bassen took to the waters with his team of three to join the search mission. He scanned several blocks of the channel at a time in an attempt to locate the wreckage of the vehicle.

The swedish used a four-seater motorboat fitted with screens to monitor echogram  signals picked by an echo-sounding machine underwater.

After three hours of patrol, he took a lunch break at around 1pm before resuming the search at 3pm.

Shortly after 5pm the expert diver changed into his diving gear and went underwater alongside a support diver.

He emerged from underwater some 45 minutes later as anxious family members and residents waited for information. 

The development has ignited fresh hope after an unsuccessful search mission so far.

Kenya Navy Commander Levy Mghalu was among hundreds who witnessed the operation  alongside other government officials.

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