Governor Joho gives family Sh2m to hire South African divers

Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho meets family members of the Likoni ferry tragedy victims at Mbaraki wharf in Mombasa County on October 2, 2019, during the ongoing search operation of the bodies of the victims. [Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has given Sh2 million to the family of Likoni Channel tragedy victims to hire deep-sea diving experts from South Africa.

Mombasa Communications Director Richard Chacha confirmed that Joho chipped in with the financial support to help the family retrieve their loved ones who sunk into the Indian Ocean on Sunday evening.

“I have sent for experts from South Africa to join efforts with multi-agency teams that are working round the clock to retrieve the bodies,” stated Joho, on Wednesday evening.

Joho earlier today visited the family of Kighenda and later tweeted: “It has been a painful wait for the family & relatives of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter as rescue operations intensify at the Likoni channel. We understand the complexity of the search operations being the reason for the delay, and therefore we are asking for patience.”

The efforts to retrieve the bodies of 35-year-old Mariam Kighenda and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu after drowning in the Indian Ocean have been futile.

On Monday, family and friends of the late businesswoman had accused the Kenya Ferry Services of laxity in retrieving the bodies.

KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa said that the retrieval was derailed by a lack of proper equipment, which they expected to receive from the Kenya Navy.

Yesterday, ferry services at the channel were halted for at least 30 minutes as the operation to remove the bodies started. It, however, ended in futility.

The same routine was repeated on Wednesday. The Government said that it is committed to running a successful retrieval operation, but added that there is need for patience owing to the nature of the water underneath.

While addressing the media in Mombasa, Government Spokesman  Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna said that the government was resorting to the use of robots to locate where the car may have landed.

He, however, blamed the complexities on poor visibility and mud in the water.

“The divers are not relying on their vision, they are relying on touch and based on that touch they can be able to interpret if what they are touching is a vehicle. The robots direct them where to touch and go,” said Oguna.

The exercise is expected to continue on Thursday.