Three UoN students drown, four rescued after overloaded boat capsizes in Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria

Fishermen in Lake Victoria. Four University of Nairobi students were rescued on December 31, 2022 while three others drowned after a boat they were in capsized in Lake Victoria as they were taking selfies.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Three University of Nairobi students drowned while four others were rescued after a boat capsized in Lake Victoria in Busia County, as they were taking selfies on Saturday evening.

The bodies were recovered from the lake on Sunday.

boat Lake Victoria

Obwa Nauchi, the boat that capsized in Lake Victoria killing three university students.

Photo credit: Derick Luvega | Nation Media Group

The students were among faithful who were camping at a local SDA church for two weeks and had recently been baptised in the lake's waters. 

SDA church Lake Victoria

The SDA church where some 230 University of Nairobi students were congregating for the last two weeks before they were baptised in Lake Victoria's waters. 

Photo credit: Derick Luvega | Nation Media Group

The Kenya coastguard officers were called to help with search and rescue. However, they suspended the search on Saturday evening and resumed on Sunday morning.

“Efforts to recover the bodies were halted due to bad weather and darkness, but a multi-agency team with the help of the Kenya coast guards will resume the search today. Possibilities of survival are minimal,” Budalang’i police boss Isaiah Mose said early Sunday. 

The seven students were taking selfies on the overloaded boat in Budalang’i when it capsized and the four were rescued by residents from a nearby village.

“The students were on an evangelical mission in Budalang’i. They had a crusade which culminated in a baptism event, under the Seventh Day Adventist church,” Mr Mose said. 

“After completing their mission, they went to the Lake Victoria waters to take photos. In the process, one of them attempted to take a selfie while standing on the boat, making it unstable. That is how the boat capsized.” 

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The boat had a capacity of three, the police boss said, and “the students were taking photos in shifts.”

However, “they wanted to take a group photo, [so] they overloaded it. The incident happened about 50 metres offshore,” he added.