Indian navy joins team searching for bodies of ferry accident victims

Tuesday, October 8th, 2019 00:00 |
South African divers arrive at the Likoni Ferry Channel to join in the recovery operation. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Officers from the Indian Navy are expected to join the search for the bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu.

The two drowned when their vehicle slipped off the ferry and plunged into the Indian Ocean at the Likoni channel a week ago.

The Indians, who arrived at the Mombasa port aboard four naval vessels yesterday while on a counter-piracy mission, are reported to have agreed to help Kenya Navy in the mission on a voluntary basis.

There are high hopes of getting the bodies out of the water today after another team of divers from South Africa began preparing to dive into the water following hours of mapping the site of the accident yesterday.

Kenya Ferry Services chairman Dan Mwazo said the search had been boosted after the government deployed additional search equipment and teams.

Operation area

“Today (yesterday) operations have delayed because we were giving way for the Indian vessels. However, I am happy to announce that we have received all the reinforcement that we needed.

The Indian Navy has also promised to join the mission on condition that this whole area will be under the military. This is why we have been asked to leave and give them room to carry out the operation,” he said in a media briefing.

Yesterday, the Mbaraki Wharf, the Bamburi Cement’s terminal, which has been the command centre, was cleared as it was declared an operation area under Kenya Navy.

Mwazo, said a South African company, Sub Sea, which was hired by the bereaved family, through Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, had also deployed five experts and search equipment.

The family, through their spokesman Luka Mbati, however, claimed they had been left in the dark regarding the arrival of the said South African firm.

Meanwhile, dredging at the Port of Mombasa could be halted today to allow the recovery exercise to continue smoothly.

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