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Search for car that plunged into Indian Ocean in Mombasa put on hold

MOMBASA: The search for a car that plunged into the Indian Ocean has been suspended over high tides and lack of equipment.

This comes amid reports that the vehicle is lying 60 feet deep on the sea bed.

The car plunged from a ferry in Likoni Channel on Monday evening, leaving one person dead.

Yesterday, ferry users across Likoni Channel and port colleagues of Joel Masindano, who drowned during the incident, expressed anger following reports that ferry workers did nothing to save the victim as he gasped for life after breaking loose from his sinking car.

Witnesses said the the car took 30 minutes to sink, with private divers arriving too late to retrieve the corpse.

However, Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Guzo said rescue teams from Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Navy brought their boats and divers 25 minutes after the accident occurred.

He added that search teams could not lift the Toyota Probox vehicle from the ocean due to high tides that hindered the operation.
"We started recovery of the vehicle at 1.30 pm but had to call off the operation because the ocean tides were high, but we shall resume later," said Guzo.

Authorities also indicated the car could not be pulled to the surface for lack of cranes or hoists to bring it from the waters.

Neither the Kenya Navy nor KFS has these equipment and yesterday, private divers reported that they had located the hulk of another car that sank many years ago near the one that went down on Monday.

Ferry authorities said the victim, who was an employee at Mombasa Port, was alone in the car when the accident occurred.

Likoni OCPD Willy Simba said recovery operations were halted due to the tides. "We will resume when the sea calms. The search is being conducted by private divers and those from Kenya Navy," said Simba.

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