Kilifi County Government has finally addressed the ocean accident involving a boat carrying 28 passengers that happened at Watamu Marine Park on Saturday killing three people.
The county, in a statement, confirmed it had received information that tourist glass boat, MV Holiday, capsized with passengers and crew members off the Garoda Beach.
“The County Government of Kilifi confirms, it received reports of an incident, that involved a Tourist Glass Boat MV. Holiday Jabulani which capsized with twenty-eight (28) passengers, including Captain and Crew onboard,” the statement read.
It went on, “The Vessel had taken Tourists (Kenyan residents 13 and Non-Kenyan residents 15) on a snorkeling tour approximately 300 meters at Sea off Garoda Beach at Watamu Marine Park yesterday 21st January 2023.”
Kilifi County Government also released a report listing the probable causes of the accident.
“The report further indicates, that the number of passengers onboard had exceeded the capacity of the Vessel. Possibility of bad weather at the time and in the later hours of the day, also contributed to the accident considering the above inappropriate condition,” Kilifi County stated.
The Governor Gideon Mung’aro headed county further said operations are underway to retrieve a missing body even as survivors were hospitalised and discharged, save for one.
“However, with unrelenting efforts, the county Rescue Team, KWS and Private Volunteers managed to rescue a total of 24 tourists. Unfortunately, three (3) lost their lives; two (2) bodies were retrieved yesterday with one more remaining.
“Rescue operations are ongoing. The rest were taken to Hospital for checkup and treatment for injures incurred. All were released, with only one (1) in hospital still receiving treatment.”
Kilifi County Government said it had also introduced a raft of measures to avert such accidents in the future:
1. The Department of Public Service and Disaster Management will carry out an inspection on all boats operating along our coastline.
2. All boats operating along the coastline are required to be equipped with safety jackets.
3. No boat will leave the shores without all its occupants wearing a safety jacket and carry within its capacity.
4. The county will increase patrons at the beach to ensure there is safety compliance, and ensure timely response to emergencies and incidents.
5. Collaborate with Kenya Marine Authority to train more patrons on safety and emergency response.
6. We urge members of the public to be vigilant and report non-compliant operators to help us ensure safety for all.
The County Government of Kilifi expressed its sympathies and condolences to families who lost their loved ones and wished a quick recovery to those who sustained injuries.