Lamu politician found alive after boat capsizes with 12 passengers

Shekue kahale (right) with outgoing Lamu Governor Issa Timamy. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu East MP candidate Shekue Kahale has been found alive.

This is after he went missing at sea together with 10 family members and the boat captain shortly after they left Mtangawanda jetty on Sunday morning.

Kahale and his family were heading to catch a flight at the Manda airport on their way to Mombasa before their boat,sea vessel, a small 40HP Yamaha Enduro Powered craft,is believed to have capsized between 10am and 12pm around Manda Bruno area on its way from Kizingitini to Lamu Island.

A body of female believed to be among the 12 passengers aboard the sea vessel was recovered early Monday morning by a search and rescue team mounted shortly after at the Manda Bruno area in Lamu.

Linda Boni operation director Joseph Kanyiri said the body was recovered a few minutes to 8am Monday.

The boat went missing in the Indian Ocean shortly after leaving Kizingitini village on Sunday. It was last spotted at Mtangawanda Jetty at around 10am before it was reported missing later.

“One female body has been recovered a while ago. We suspect the boat capsized due to sea turbulence around Manda Bruno. Search and rescue teams are out there. More details later,” said Kanyiri.

Unconfirmed witness reports however indicate that two bodies were recovered and the scene of the accident at Manda Bruno and not one.

Shekue was found alive but weak and fatigued at at an uninhabited island named Majunguni close to Shanga island on Monday morning by the rescue team.

According to Awadh Ali who was part of the search team,Shekue still had his lifejacket on and was pacing up and down on the lone island when he was spotted at around 7am Monday.

Shekue is still unable to speak or comprehend what happened and has been taken to the Kizingitini hospital for treatment and post-trauma counseling.

The captain of the ill fated boat has was also found alive at Bori area near Mtangawanda jetty in Lamu east.

“We have found at Majunguni.He was just walking around and pacing.He was still wearing his life jacket but he couldn’t speak.He didn’t even seem to know what happened.He is in shock.He has been rushed to hospital.The captain of the boat has also been found at Bori near Mtangawanda. He is fine. Two bodies have also been found near Manda Bruno. I suspect the number of fatalities might arise since many passengers of the boat are still unknown,” said Awadh.

Two jerry cans, a fuel tank and a fuel pump suspected to be those of the ill fated boat were also recovered.
Kanyiri also said search efforts were being hindered by high tides at the scene at Manda Bruno.

County commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo confirmed the search was being conducted by several agencies including the Kenya police,immigration, the Kenya Maritime Authority-KMA and the county rescue team at sea.

Marine police and navy are also doing sea patrols at the moment,said Kitiyo.

The number of casualties in the accident is expected to rise since its believed many of the passengers either didn’t have their life jackets on or had wrongfully put them on making itb easy for them to come off on meeting the heavy currents.

Manda Bruno is known for heavy and huge currents and on most occasions,travelers going past the area have to wait until the tides are low to travel or postpone their journeys until the tides are a bit ‘firendly’.

Kahale emerged second in the Lamu East Parliamentary race in the just concluded General Elections which was won by incumbent Lamu East MP Sharif Athman Ali of Jubilee Party.

Shariff garnered 4,717 votes while Kahale popularly known as ‘Mwanati’ got 4,384 votes.

The incident comes barely two months after 10 people died when a dhow aboard 25 passengers and their luggage capsized at the Mkanda Channel on June 20 this year.

The dhow was travelling from Lamu Island heading to Ndau village in Lamu East when it capsized owing to rough tides.