An attempt by a woman passenger on a boat to take a selfie has ended up causing the death of five people in the boat tragedy that struck in Lake Victoria at Seme, Kisumu on Saturday.

The tragedy struck when a group of five people said to be staff at St Francis Hospital in Kasarani, Nairobi decided to ride on a boat after attending the burial of their colleague’s father.

However, the boat capsized about 200 metres from the shore, with the coxswain George Onyango saying the woman’s selfie attempt caused the boat to lose control and turn over.

Meshack Owira, the Arongo Beach Management Unit (BMU) chairperson, said the boat was overloaded as it was carrying eight people, including two boat operators, at the time of the tragedy.

Owira added that most beach officials were not in operation as it was a weekend and the passengers also boarded the boat without wearing any safety jackets complicating matters.

When the boat capsized, a few fishermen present at the time rushed to rescue the passengers and managed to save the coxswain, Trevor Okoth, 14, and John Kimemia.

Survivors were treated at Manywanda Hospital and discharged, as the bodies of the deceased were taken to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue.

Five people died shortly after they were pulled out of the water by the fishermen and divers, with bodies of Cosmas Nyangi and co-navigator Arnold Okello yet to be retrieved.

Local fishermen, administrators and Kenya Maritime Authority officers are leading efforts to recover the two missing bodies, with the Saturday efforts disrupted by rains and darkness.