What you need to know:
- The boy’s distraught parents were so overwhelmed with emotions to the point they did not view their child's body.
- Local divers frantically searched for the body for more than a week without success.
The body of a 13-year-old schoolboy who drowned in Kianjuri dam, inside Marania forest, Buuri West Sub-county in Meru County nine days ago has been recovered a frantic search exercise.
James Mwenda, a Standard Seven pupil at Ntirimiti Primary school, was pursuing a calf that had strayed near the dam as he grazed the family cows when he slipped and fell into the 300,000 cubic meters water reservoir.
Fellow herds boys attempted to pull him out but they did not have swimming skills, even as Mwenda sunk fast.
Local divers frantically searched for the body for more than a week without success, prompting Meru County government to engage the services of divers from Mombasa County and the National Disaster Management Team.
The body was however spotted floating in the middle of the dam as the Mombasa team embarked on day two of their search effort.
The boy’s distraught parents were so overwhelmed with emotions to the point they did not view their child's body.
Ntirimiti Primary School head teacher Moses Koome mourned the deceased as a gifted boy, who was keen on resuming studies following the prolonged closure of schools due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Mwenda urged parents to take extra care of their children, now that they were at home so that they did not engage in dangerous activities.
“When the children are in school, we take great care of them. When they are at home, please take care of them and ensure you monitor their whereabouts,” he said.
Kisima MCA Joy Karambu and Buuri MP PA Leslie Muthamia urged the dam contractor to erect a perimeter fence around the reservoir to forestall a recurrence of the accident.
They appealed to the government to recall the contractor who oversaw the project in 2018 so that he can finalize the works.
“In the BQ, there was provision for fencing of the dam. I don’t know who directed that it be skipped. The contractor should come back and complete the work to prevent another accident,” said Ms Karambu.
Mr Salim Mohamed Ahmed, an international rescue diving instructor who led the Mombasa team, called on county governments to train teams on basic rescue operations so that they can respond to such incidents.
He said the dam has many tree trunks that could have hampered rescue mission.
Police from Subuiga moved the boy's body to Meru Level 5 Hospital mortuary.