Two bodies recovered from L. Victoria after accident

A ferry in Mbita Town on February 24,2022. Two fishermen died on Friday after their boat collided with a ferry in Mbita Town. 

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group.

Officers from the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and their counterparts from the Kenya Coast Guard Services (KCGS) have retrieved the bodies of two fishermen who died on Friday night after their boat collided with a passenger ferry near Rusinga Island.

The bodies were found on Monday afternoon after a two-day search that also involved fishermen from Chamaunga and Nyangina beaches.

Nyangina Beach Management Unit chairman Joseph Kaseu said the bodies were floating on the water.

"Rescuers had to pull them out of the water into their boats and transport them to the beach. They were then taken to the mortuary," he said.

The 8pm accident is being investigated.

Four men were fishing directly in the path of a ferry from Luanda Kotieno beach in Siaya County.

They failed to move their small boat to let the larger vessel, MV Chamaunga, which was sailing to Mbita town, pass.

The crash destroyed the wooden boat.

All the men were tossed overboard and two of them died.

The other two swam to safety and were rescued by their colleagues in other boats.

Mbita sub-county Police Commander Stanley Atavachi said marine police were investigating the incident and will pinpoint the exact cause of the crash.

A rare case

Cases of water vessels colliding in Lake Victoria are rare.

Since the establishment of agencies like the KMA, KCGS and others on the lake last year, fishermen and other vessel operators have been keen on safety to avoid arrest.

But the latest accident has shown the need for more civic education on water safety.

According to Mr Atavachi, the fishermen from Nyangina beach were stuck in the water.

"The other two reported that the lake was windy so they decided to anchor their boats. But they did not know that they were in the path of a ferry,” he said.

In windy conditions, fishermen are advised to stay on land for their own safety.

Mr Kaseu, the Nyangina Beach Management Unit chairman, said there were strong winds on the lake at the time of the accident and the fishermen found it difficult to sail their boat.

"They decided to cast their nets while anchoring the vessel at the point where they could not move," he said.

It was not clear how the ferry captain failed to notice the boat.

If he had seen the fishermen, he would have alerted them to move out of the way by hooting.

Mr Atavachi said this was among the factors to be examined.

But Mr Kaseu said darkness made it harder for anyone to notice the boat.