The bodies of a woman Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu (4 year old) that died after their car plunged into the Indian Ocean on 29th September, 2019 has been recovered.
The recovery effort was led by the Kenya Navy and some foreign experts.
Marian and Amanda drowned while trapped inside a car when it slipped from a ferry in the middle of Likoni channel and plunged into the ocean as commuters watched helplessly last evening.
The tragedy struck at approximately 6.32pm aboard the packed MV Harambee that was crossing from the southern mainland to Mombasa island. The victims’ identities remained unknown by the time of going to Press.
Witnesses told journalists a stricken woman shouted for help from inside the car, banging the windshield with her bare hands, but there was nothing commuters could do.
There were no divers or emergency teams on board to attempt a rescue. Instead, commuters who witnessed the car sliding into the water screamed in horror, sparking panic and a near stampede in the ferry over fears that something had hit the vessel or that it was sinking.
The car sank within minutes before the ferry had reached the island. Half an hour later, darkness set in and ended any chance of starting a search and rescue operation.
Information given by Kenya Ferry Services managing director Bakari Gowa indicated that a woman and her child were inside the Toyota Probox that sank.
But Likoni OCPD Benjamin Rotich revised the death toll upwards, alleging that there were four people in the car that was being driven by a woman.
Mr Gowa said the car was the last to drive into the ferry, which carries vehicles and commuters.
“As the ferry was moving, the driver reversed the vehicle and slipped backwards,” said Gowa. He warned that because of the high tide there was fears the sunken vehicle could be dragged into Kilindi harbour.
“We have already alerted the Kenya Navy and Kenya Ports Authority. Rescue operations will begin any time,” Gowa said.
Private divers, led by search and rescue expert Musa Sila, said the operation to recover the vehicle could not be conducted last evening because of darkness. He added that they would not take part in salvage activities until their pay was assured.