Two drown, six missing as boat capsizes in Lake Victoria

Fishermen at work in Lake Victoria within Homa Bay County [James Omoro, Standard]

Two people were confirmed dead while six others were missing on Tuesday following a boat accident in Lake Victoria in Homa Bay County.

Eight other passengers were rescued.

Homa Bay Township chief Joshua Ochogo said the bodies of a middle-aged woman and a one-and-a-half-year-old child were retrieved by rescuers and taken to Homa Bay County Referral Hospital mortuary.

The two were among 16 people who boarded a passenger boat at Pier Beach in Homa Bay town headed to Ndhuru beach in the neighbouring Mbita sub-county.

The boat reportedly developed a serious crack that allowed entry of water before it capsized more than 500 metres away from the shore.

Passengers included fishmongers and people who had gone to Homa Bay town to purchase various goods.

They reportedly boarded the vessel some minutes after 4.30pm. However, about 10 minutes after taking off, it capsized.

According to Mr Ochogo, eight people had been rescued while the whereabouts of the remaining six had not been established.

“The search is going on to rescue the remaining persons whose whereabouts are unknown,” Ochogo said.

The boat had also carried building materials such as cement, timber and firewood.

Witnesses suspected that the boat capsized due to overloading and strong winds across the lake.

“I saw the boat before it commenced its journey. Actually, it was overloaded and the weight and the wind must be the cause of the tragedy,” Joas Ochieng’, a coxswain who operates another boat.

The boat was towed back to the lake shore.

Earlier, Nyanza Regional Police Commander Karanja Muiruri said the police rescued two female passengers.

“They have been rushed to Homa Bay Country Referral Hospital. Rescue operation is ongoing. We can’t tell the exact number of people who were on board before the boat capsized,” Muiruri said.


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