A boat ferrying 10 passengers capsized at sea in Mombasa Friday night with one feared to have drowned.
The incident happened at Ganaola crossing channel, Jomvu Sub County that connects Mikindani trading centre in Mombasa to Rabai Sub-County in Kilifi.
The nine survivors managed to get safely ashore during the incident that happened around 11 pm with one man reported to be missing.
When reporters arrived at the scene, local ill-equipped rescuers were still searching the missing person identified as Samuel Tsui, 32 an employee of Mabati rolling mills in Miritini, Mombasa according to his family.
Mohamed Malanga, a survivor of the ill-fated canoe told journalists at the scene of the tragedy that increased tides may have contributed to their craft capsizing.
Malanga said their efforts to rescue Tsui bore no fruits as the sea was rough and everyone was scampering to get out of the waters.
Another survivor Purity Mrabai a mother of two recounted how she survived the tragedy.
She said she was headed for a relative’s burial in Kilifi and she had boarded the boat with her three year old son.
Mrabai said after they left the shoreline, about 100 meters the waves started hitting the boat and within a fraction of seconds she found herself in the water with her child strapped to her back.
She says she called on God as she held her son tightly with one hand while the other hand holding the ill fated boat.
The mother of one could not imagine she would be alive to tell tales and after screaming she was rescued by other passengers who knew how to swim.
Agnes Mkare a sister of the missing man said he is a father of four and that they received news of the incident at the dead of the night and has been camping near the site of the canoe mishap.
Village elder Wanje Zero said it is the third incident in three months that occurred at the channel that links parts of Mombasa to Rabai sub County of neighbouring Kilifi County.
[Samuel Tsui’s family waiting in despair at the Ganaola seashore. Photo/courtesy].
He called for measures against recurrence of such incidents and urged the canoe peddlers to have life jackets for their passengers.
Mikindani Member of the Mombasa County Assembly Juma Renson Thoya said efforts are on to recover the body of Tsui and urged boat operators not to venture out during rough weather.
The MCA said they are waiting for professional divers from the Kenya Red Cross society and Kenya navy to launch a recovery operation for the missing person.