Two people missing after boat capsises in Lamu

In Summary

• Two people have been reported missing at sea after a dhow they were using to transport building materials capsized.

• Two other people were rescued by local divers shortly after the accident happened at around 10am.

Kenya Marine Police,Kenya Maritime Authority and local divers commence search and rescue for the missing people on the ocean.
Kenya Marine Police,Kenya Maritime Authority and local divers commence search and rescue for the missing people on the ocean.
Image: PRAXIDES CHETI

Two people have been reported missing at sea after a dhow they were using to transport building materials capsized.

The incident happened at dreaded Mlango wa Pate channel in the Indian Ocean,Lamu East on Sunday.

Two other people were rescued by local divers shortly after the accident happened at around 10am.

The dhow is suspected to have capsized due to overloading.

Search and rescue efforts for the missing two by the Kenya Marine Police,Kenya Maritime Authority and local divers have been commenced on the ocean.

The two survivors are admitted at the Lamu King Fahad hospital in Lamu town where they continue to recuperate.

Confirming the accident,Lamu county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri said the dhow had just left the Mokowe terminal jetty with the materials and was headed for Pate island when the accident occurred.

The materials were for the ongoing construction of the Pate sea wall in Lamu East,he said.

“Two people were rescued and rushed to hospital.We are still searching for the other two.We however suspect the dhow could have been overloaded at the time of the accident,”said Kanyiri.

A witness said the accident could have been caused by overloading.

“The dhow had on board over 200 building blocks and other materials.

Normally,the tides are calmer in the mornings and the fact that the accident happened at 10am means that tides weren’t to blame but other factors and in this case,too much cargo,”said Yusuf Mohamed.

The Mlango wa Pate channel is among channels listed as extremely fatal and are characterized by extremely powerful tides that have left many dead.

In extreme situations, travelers have to wait for the tides to calm before passing through or even postpone their journeys altogether and await to travel on a calmer day.

Lamu has a hard quite a history with boat accidents.

The worst marine accident in the region was on August 13,2017 when ODM politician Shekue Kahale lost 12 of his family members including his four children and his wife after their boat capsized due to strong tides at the Mkanda channel.

Only the politician made it to safety after hours of swimming.

In June 2018,a fishermen perished after a boat capsized at the Manda Maweni area in Lamu.

Three fishermen who were reported missing after their boat capsized in Ndau village in Lamu East have never been found to date.

Another deadly accident was on June 20,2017 when 10 people perished after their boat capsized at the Mkanda channel.The boat had left Lamu town for Ndau village in Lamu East.