10 PEOPLE WERE RESCUED

All 10 bodies of Lake Victoria tragedy victims retrieved

Bondo deputy county commissioner Paul Wanyonyi says they will be taken to Uganda after identification.

In Summary

• A body of a woman was retrieved on Wednesday, while nine others were found on Friday morning following a two-day search.

• The body retrieved on Wednesday  was transported to Uganda on Thursday.

Divers retrieve the body of a woman near Honge Beach in Usenge, Siaya, on Wednesday
Divers retrieve the body of a woman near Honge Beach in Usenge, Siaya, on Wednesday
Image: FAITH MATETE
Bananas and fruits from the boat that had capsized near Honge Beach in Usenge, Siaya, on Tuesday night.
Bananas and fruits from the boat that had capsized near Honge Beach in Usenge, Siaya, on Tuesday night.
Image: FAITH MATETE

The bodies of 10 people who drowned after their boat capsized in Lake Victoria on Tuesday have all been retrieved.

A body of a woman was retrieved on Wednesday, while nine others were found on Friday morning following a two-day search.

The boat was ferrying goods from Uganda and had about 20 people onboard, including its crew. Ten people, including a three-year-old child, survived after they were rescued by fishermen.

Bondo deputy county commissioner Paul Wanyonyi told the Star the bodies will be taken to Uganda after identification. The body retrieved on Wednesday  was transported to Uganda on Thursday.

"We had agreed and made arrangements with the Ugandan authorities not to have the bodies taken to Kenyan morgue but be transported to Uganda," he said.

There were claims the boat was overloaded and could not balance, leading to the tragic accident.  Stephen Matayo, a banana trader on Siaya county's Usenge beach for 27 years, was one of those onboard. He and other passengers left for Usenge at around 10am and hoped to arrive by 10pm.

Matayo said there was too much wind and and strong waves as they approached home. They arrived in Kenya at around 9pm and just a few metres before landing, the worst befell them.

"Due to strong waves, one of the ropes from the boat got stuck in the engine and in the process of removing it, the boat capsized," he recounted.

He said some passengers fell into the lake as others held on to the boat and bunches of bananas hoping to stay afloat.

"During this time, we were screaming for help and by God's grace some fishermen who were in the lake heard us and came to our rescue," he said.

Matayo was second time lucky. He had survived in another boat accident in 1993 in which nobody died.

"Its not easy for us but we pray that they manage to get them," she said of those whose bodies had been missing.

Maureen Namakhola and her three-year-old daughter also survived. She said they held on to the floating luggage before they were rescued.

"It is by grace of God that we managed to survive. I can't even explain how," she said, adding that it was a miracle.

Khudamba Issa, another banana trader, said at around 8.30pm they were forced to drop some of the luggage as the waves were too strong. He said from the time they started their journey in Uganda, everything was okay until the winds became too strong. 

"When our boat turned just before reaching the shores, I managed to swim but thank God I was rescued by the fishermen who were in the lake at that time," he said. 

Banana and fruits from the boat that had capsized near Usenge beach on Tuesday night
Banana and fruits from the boat that had capsized near Usenge beach on Tuesday night
Image: FAITH MATETE