Watamu boat accident: Three people dead, 25 rescued

A view of Watamu beach. [File, Standard]

Three people including a five-year-old child died on Saturday afternoon after the boat they were on capsized in Watamu Beach, Kilifi County.

Tragedy struck the boat which was carrying fifteen foreign tourists and some Kenyan tourists when they were out in the ocean watching dolphins.

Reports indicate that the boat was hit by a strong wave and capsized leaving the three, including the five-year-old who was on holiday with his parents from Nairobi and two other residents of Watamu dead.

Watamu Marine National Park and Reserve Warden Dadley Kiluhula, confirming the accident said 26 people were rescued and are stable.

In a phone interview, he said those who died were found under the boat benches and suspect they were stuck when the boat capsized and overturned.

"The boat was among others that were taking tourists on a dolphin-watching excursion in an area which has never had such an accident," he noted.

Kiluhula said quick response from other boats nearby and KWS officials helped to save the lives of the 26.

He said three were still in hospital but in stable condition, while the others were rushed to hospital and discharged.

The warden said the two bodies would be buried later in the evening according to Muslim customs while the body of the minor was taken to Malindi mortuary.

Watamu Ward MCA Ibrahim Abdi said he was shocked to learn of the accident, and sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families.

He immediately dispatched a response team to help in the rescue operation. Abdi called on the County and National Government to come up with strategies to have strong rescue boats so as to ensure a swift response in case of similar accidents in the future.

"We are going to reach out to our Blue Economy CS Salim Mvurya, Public Service CS Aisha Jumwa, and Mombasa Governor so that together we can look for a solution to have rescue boats that can respond quickly in future."