Likoni ferry accident: Divers locate vehicle wreckage
Search and rescue teams from Kenya Navy, KPA, Kenya Fisheries Research Institute (KEFRI) and Private Contracted Divers have located the position of the wreckage of the vehicle that plunged into the ocean while the ferry was midstream, Kenya Ferry Services has announced.
"This is to notify ferry users that due to the ongoing exercise of retrieving the sunken vehicle we are likely to experience delays between 30 minutes to one hour as ferry movement is affected," KFS said adding that the recovery exercise was underway.
Ferry users who witnessed the incident say the vehicle, which was at the rear end side of the island bound MV Harambee Ferry, reversed and plunged into the ocean while the ferry was midstream.
The witnesses said the vehicle occupants could be seen waving and yelling for help through the vehicle’s windows as the car floated for some minutes before sinking.
According to the Likoni OCPD Benjamin Rotich, the vehicle’s breaks failed and reversed just before the ferry docked.
Family members and friends believe the time in which the vehicle stayed afloat before it sunk was enough for the concerned authorities to marshal support to rescue the victims, and put the blame on KFS and the Kenya Navy for what they say was sheer negligence.
“It pains to even imagine that lives were lost in these very waters where the Kenya Navy are making minute by minute patrols in preparation for Mashujaa Day which is almost a month away,” said Sheila Karembo, a family friend.
Coast regional coordinator John Elungata yesterday said the KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa should carry responsibility for the Sunday accident.
“The ferry itself is old and its doors could not close. The ferry management should take responsibility because this is a matter of public safety,” said Elungata during a media briefing at his office.
He said operations to retrieve bodies have been delayed by lack of equipment to retrieve the car from the sea.
The government, he said, had sourced diving equipment from a South African company.