Families of four drowned Mombasa fishermen seek help

Fatuma Ali holds a photo of her brother Mohamed Ali in Mombasa County. Mohamed Ali is among the four fishermen who drowned while fishing. [Kelvin Karani/Standard]
Families of four fishermen believed to have drowned in the Indian Ocean last week are pleading for help to recover their bodies.

According to Mombasa Police commander Johnston Ipara, the four went missing on July 9, after their boat capsized after it was knocked by huge waves at about 11pm.

The four fishermen have been identified as Ahmed Ali, Mohamed Harun, Eddy Pazi and a Mr Changwa.

According to one of the survivors, Jeffry Matano, the boat was hit by strong waves as they sailed back from high seas where they had gone fishing.

He said they took the ill-fated boat from Mokomani in Nyali at 9pm, and sailed deep into the ocean to fish.

They, however, turned back and headed to the shores after noticing that the tide was growing stronger.

Mombasa has been experiencing strong winds and rains since the start of July.

“As we started sailing back, the boat was hit by strong waves and capsized,” said Mr Matano.

He said the six of them held onto the boat but abandoned it after about one hour when it began to sink. They then started swimming to the shores before another wave hit them.

“We began to swim to the shore together but we were hit by a strong wave which separated us. It was at night so we could not see each other,” said Matano.

Seven hours

More waves scattered the fishermen in the sea. Only two of them made it ashore after swimming for seven hours.

“I lost touch with my colleagues until about 6am when I was able to spot one of them,” said Matano.

A professional diver who has been fishing in the ocean for the past six years, Matano said he could not help his friends because swimming against the strong waves had sapped all his energy. 

Yesterday, one of the missing fishermen’s relatives said local divers had not found any body nor the wreck of the ill-fated boat.

“We are seeking help to find my brother, alive or dead. It is one week since we reported him missing,” said Ali’s sister, Fatuma Ali.

According the Kenya Rescue Divers team leader, Moses Sila, the search operation began on Tuesday last week.

“Sometimes the bodies can come up after even fifteen days so we have not given up,” said Mr Sila.

According to Sila, the search mission was being hampered by the strong waves and bad weather.

missing fishermenIndian Ocean