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Safety concerns raised after tourist bus plunges in ocean

By Weldon Kipkemoi | January 11th 2021 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The partly submerged bus after it slid away from Likoni Ferry in Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango,Standard]

Just how did a 35-seater tourist bus plunge into the Indian Ocean at the Likoni Crossing Channel after it slid from a ferry?

These are the questions that have emerged even as safety of motorists and passengers at the ferries is back in focus.

Reports say that drivers of tourist vans and other motorists have in the past complained about the recently constructed ramp, saying it was steep and slippery.

The Standard has established that Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) officials spray sand on the ramp whenever it drizzles to enable the vehicles navigate the area safely. 

A senior KFS official said motorists have raised the issue a number of times demanding that the new ramp should be rough like the old ones. 

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“The contractor put a slippery surface instead of a rough one. Again the lime or substance that KFS deposited here to make the ramp rough was not sprayed today,” said a KFS employee.

The Standard sought KFS Managing Director Bakari Gowa’s response to the incident, but he could not be reached on phone.

Last month, the government placed management of ferry services under Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to boost efficiency. Yesterday, the driver of the tourist bus recounted the chilling incident.

Salim Omar said he lost control of the 35-seater bus while boarding MV Jambo from the mainland side of the channel.

“The ramp was slippery and when I tried to steer the bus to the other side to avoid hitting the other vehicles, the breaks failed and it plunged into the ocean,” said Omar.

“Whenever it drizzles there is a substance they spray to make it easy for the cars to pass because the ramp is slippery, but today they did not,” said a shop operator near the ramp.

Pollmans Tours and Safaris Group Director of Operations Mohamed Hersi said the bus belonged to the company and that it was from Diani, Kwale, headed to Mombasa.

“We did not have any passengers on board after dropping them in Diani the previous evening,” said Hersi. 

Indian Ocean Likoni Crossing Channel Likoni Ferry Kenya Ports Authority
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