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Nine students rescued after boat capsizes in Budalang'i

By Ignatius Odanga | Published Tue, May 29th 2018 at 12:31, Updated May 29th 2018 at 12:34 GMT +3

Nine students from Makunda Secondary escaped death narrowly on Monday after a boat they were using to cross over River Nzoia capsized.

The students had been told to go back home by one of the teachers after they allegedly arrived late at the school.

A Red Cross volunteer Musyola Vitalis who is also a village elder in the area said he was at the banks of the river monitoring the levels of the waters when the accident occurred at Mumbira in Bunyala.

"I was alarmed by the distress call by the drowning students, I called local divers who used different boat and dived in the river to rescue the students," he said.

Two victims, both female students were rushed to the nearby health facility where they are recuperating.

“Quick response by local divers and availability of the boat saved the nine students otherwise we would be mourning our children,” said Muysola.

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At the time Administration Police officers arrived, all the victims had been rescued from the raging waters.

However, the students had their bags and books swept away during the incident.

“We managed to save everybody who was in the boat at the time it capsized,” confirmed Musyola.

Budalang’i assistant chief Oscar Ngira wants head teachers to understand the students’ situation since they struggle to cross the river using boats on their way to school.

The nine hail from Mumbira in Bunyala North Ward and they learn in Bunyala Central ward.

There are three crossing points students use to report to school that are far away from Sigiri Bridge that is under construction but almost complete.

He said sometimes students arrive at the banks of the river only to find out that there is no boat and therefore they have to wait for one to arrive and help them cross the river to school.

“In fact the school management should have appreciated the fact that despite ongoing rainfall and the struggles students go through to reach the school, they had managed to report to school though late,” said Mr Ngira.

“ Some students have to plead with owners of the boat to carry them free to take lesson because they are supposed to pay some money but how many students are able to pay the fee daily?” the assistant chief post.

He lauded Muysola’s team for saving the nine students. “I hope the principal will sympathize with the students and help them get new books because the ones they had were swept with water as they attempt to swim to save their lives before rescuers arrived,” Ngira maintained.

One of the survivors Lenard Bwire of Form Three said,” We arrived at the school’s gate and the deputy principal told us to go back home because we were late.”

He asked the government to donate a boat that will be specifically for students who cross the River Nzoia daily. “The water came with force and hit the boat that is when it capsized,” said Bwire. When The Standard contacted school Principal Francis Kigai he referred us to sub county director of education.

“I am not authorized to speak to the media please contact sub county director of education who is able to respond to the incident,” said Mr Kigai. Bunyala OCPD Fredrick Kagai said investigation had started into the incident that nearly led to death of nine learners.


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