Many Feared Dead in Homa Bay Boat Tragedy

Many feared dead in Homa Bay Boat Tragedy (News Central TV)

A search and rescue operation has been called off at the Pier beach, Homa Bay County yesterday after a boat carrying 16 people capsized in Lake Victoria.

So far, six people have been rescued and taken to the hospital while two are feared dead. The rescue operation staff of the Kenya Maritime Authority, to determine the whereabouts of the remaining persons may resume this morning.

Confirming the incident, the Homabay town area chief, Joshua Ochogo said that passengers reportedly boarded the vessel some minutes to 5pm. However, about 10 minutes after taking off, it capsized, 400 metres away from Homa Bay Pier.

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He explained the boat was headed to Nduru island in Mbita Sub-county. Ochogo said the boat was carrying about 16 people but they have managed to rescue only 6 people.

“We mobilised a number of boats to do the recovery and so far, we have rescued 6 who have been rushed to the hospital,” he said.

Ochogo added that there were heavy rains and water hyacinth is hampering their rescue procedure.

The boat reportedly developed a serious crack that allowed entry of water before it capsized more than 500 metres away from the shore.

A coxswain who operates another boat, Joas Ochieng’ said: “I saw the boat before it commenced its journey. Actually, it was overloaded and the weight and the wind must be the cause of the tragedy”

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Passengers included fishmongers and people who had gone to Homa Bay town to purchase various goods.

He appealed to travellers to check their safety first before boarding a boat adding that all the passengers who were on board did not have life jackets. He also said that the boat was overloaded with cement and timber.

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