Govt explains why ferry tragedy bodies haven’t been retrieved 48hrs on
The government has explained why it has not retrieved two bodies and a saloon car nearly 48 hours after a ferry accident claimed two lives at Likoni channel, Mombasa.
A statement by the government spokesperson Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna on Tuesday said poor weather, the strategic nature of the channel which makes it the only gateway into Mombasa port and heavy commuter traffic into Mombasa island hindered the rescue efforts.
He, however, said that the government had initiated a rescue effort and mobilized a multi- agency rescue team that comprises divers and other experts from Kenya Navy, Kenya Ferry Services Ltd, Kenya Ports Authority, the Kenya Coast Guard service and Kenya Marine and Fisheries research institute.
“The team has been working round the clock since the day of the accident. It’s unfortunate the recovery efforts are still on going,” added Oguna,
The Kenya Ferry Services on Tuesday revealed that the two areas identified as the position of the wreckage of the Likoni Ferry tragedy are around 60m deep.
Mariam Kidenga, 35, and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu were onboard the Toyota ISIS when the incident occurred. The Toyota ISIS motor vehicle plunged into the Indian Ocean while aboard the MV Harambee ferry on Sunday evening.
Kenyans have querried the slow pace of retrieving the bodies and the bodies in a country that will in a few weeks’ time showcase its military strength, including a navy unit.
Col. Rtd Oguna said that the government was aware of the accident and has so far contacted the family of the deceased.
“We condole with the bereaved family and we wish to state that we have been in contact with the family and will provide any assistance that the family may need,” said Oguna
He added that the government was putting in place measures to avert such accidents in future
Earlier, Kenyans online had demanded timely updates on the rescue operations and blamed the accident on negligence.
They also question the work of some of the multi agencies who according to netizens took hours to respond to the emergency.
The accident has raised questions about the safety of the Likoni crossing, where ferries with dangerously sagging and rusty ramps carry more than 300,000 people and 6,000 vehicles daily across the channel.
Earlier on Tuesday, Likoni channel was closed temporary after the multi agency team identified two positions, 75ft and 173ft, at which the vehicle could be.
“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 in a tweet.
All vessels along the channel have been cleared, this includes inbound and outbound ship to ensure safety of the divers