Rescued Lamu politician recounts how he lost his entire family at sea

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

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu ODM politician Shekue Kahale has recalled how he tried to rescue his children and relatives before he was over powered by the rough tides at sea.

Speaking from his bed at his home in Kizingitini on Wednesday,Kahale commonly known to the locals as Mwanati, narrated how he held onto his four children and his three nephews shortly after their boat capsized at Manda Bruno last Sunday for over four hours.

A weeping Kahale says he made sure some of the children held onto him as he tried swimming to safety but that one by one he watched as the children plagued by fatigue and dizziness,released their grasps on him and fell into the deep ocean.

Only the politician survived the Sunday boat accident that left 10 of his family members and the boat coxswain dead.

Kahale lost his wife,four children,his sister and her three children,his aunt and the boat captain who was also a relative in the accident that happened at around 10.30am Sunday.

The boat only had two men,Kahale and the coxswain while the rest were women and children.

Kahale said immediately after the boat capsized,he tried rescuing all that were on board but that he was overwhelmed and watched as his wife,sister and aunt were swept away by the heavy currents and the Manda Bruno.

All this while,he held onto the all the six children that were on board and swam for over four hours in the hope that would find help but to no avail since they were in the middle of the deep seas where boats rarely ply.

He said when it started raining,most of the children were by this time fatigued and that’s when they let go one by one and died as he watched.

“The boat was overpowered by the high tides and capsized.I have been at sea for years as a fisherman and so I tried having the children hold onto me as I swam to rescue my wife,sister and aunt which proved difficult due to the weight,you know they were adults and so I was overwhelmed and had to watch them swept off one by one as they cried for me to save them.Four hours down,the kids were still holding on as I swam in the hope of spotting anything or anyone who could help but to know avail.It started raining and kids couldn’t take it anymore.They let go one by one and died as I watched.I died too.I am here but I am dead.My entire family is dead you know,”said Kahale.

Kahale said the last child let go and died at around 6pm on Sunday evening.

The politician says he swam the while night before he came to an island where he was found pacing by the rescue team.

“I could see some boats from far but no matter how loud I tried to scream for help,they couldn’t hear me.The last child died ast around 6pm on Sunday.I swam the entire night before I spotted land and by then it was already dawning,”he said.

Kahale has sent an appeal to the national and county governments to increase marine patrols which should be functional 24/7 in order to be able to rescue people when accidents occur at sea.

He belives his family would still be alive if there had been active marine patrols on the Indian ocean.

“The kids held onto life for over four hours for God’s sake and I believe that was enough time for them to have been saved if there had been patrols,”he said.

Meanwhile,one more body belonging to Kahale’s sister has been retrieved near Manda Bruno
According to the head of the search team Ali Awadh,the ill fated boat has also been recovered at Shanga island in Lamu east.

He said the body and boat were retrieved by local divers who have pitched camp in the area since the accident occurred.

So far,nine bodies have been recovered while two more belonging to Kahale’s child and sister are yet to be found.
Awadh says the search is still on until the last body is retrieved.

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