Four dead, 25 rescued as boat capsizes in Watamu


Four people died on Saturday after the boat they were travelling in capsized in Watamu in Kilifi County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Four people died on Saturday after the boat they were sailing in capsized in Watamu in Kilifi County.

The Watamu Beach Management Unit Chairman Vincent Kahindi said the boat that was carrying 29 passengers was hit by strong waves before it sank.

"Among the dead are three women and an eight-year-old child," said Mr Kahindi.

The bodies of three women have been retrieved from the ocean while the search for the child’s body is ongoing.

"At the moment we have found three bodies and the one that has not been found is that of the child but we are still searching," said Mr Kahindi.

Other passengers in the ill-fated boat were rescued after the accident.

However, beach attendants led by Mr Francis Karisa have complained about the lack of lifeboats, especially during emergencies.

"During emergencies, it becomes difficult for people to be rescued easily because here we don't have adequate rescue equipment," said Mr Karisa.

The rescue operation was done by officers from the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya Red Cross.

"Those who were rescued have been taken to Iluru Hospital in Watamu. Others were rushed to Malindi General Hospital," said Ms Kawthar Alwy, a Kenya Red Cross official.

Malindi Sub-county Deputy Police Commander Solomon Odero said the passengers were on a boat ride.

He added that the boat had 29 passengers on board at the time of the accident. He said 15 of the passengers were foreigners.

“The boat capsized in the morning and a rescue team from the Kenya Wildlife Service embarked on the rescue mission. They managed to save 25 people. Three people died,” he said

Mr Odero said two people who are admitted to hospital are in stable condition.

However, he ruled out overloading as the cause of the boat capsizing.

It has not been established whether the foreigners were guests in a hotel. Sources say the boat was heading for a picnic at Mida Creek.