A multi-agency team has kicked off operations to retrieve a car that plunged into the Indian Ocean with two passengers onboard. The team, comprising of Kenya Navy, KPA, Kenya Fisheries Research Institute (KEFRI) and Private Contracted Divers, said by Monday they had identified two positions, 75ft and 173ft, at which the vehicle could be.
Kenya Ferry Services said transport along the Likoni Channel had been halted as divers begin search for the bodies.“This is to notify ferry users that due to the ongoing exercise of retrieving the sunken vehicle we are likely to experience delays between 30 minutes to one hour as ferry movement is affected,” KFS said in a tweet.All vessels along the channel have been cleared, this includes inbound and outbound ship to ensure safety of the divers.
ONGOING SALVAGE OPERATIONS:
Search and rescue teams from Kenya Navy, KPA, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) and Private Contracted Divers have located the position of the vehicle wreckage. The recovery exercise is underway #FerryKenya #caraccidentrecovery pic.twitter.com/CKZc65k2lL
— Kenya Ferry Services (@FerryKenya) October 1, 2019
On Monday, the Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Bakari Gowa said experts established that the vehicle had sunk 60m, making it difficult to retrieve.
“We have carried out an assessment and established that the place where the vehicle sunk is 60m deep and requires specialised equipment to retrieve,” said Gowa.The family protested the delay, saying they were contemplating hiring private divers to retrieve the bodies.
“The ferries are operating normally as we remain here as bystanders. The KFS officials are behaving like nothing happened,” Catherine Wanjala, sister of Mariam Kighenda, the victim told journalists on Monday.
The divers were seen preparing to board boats as others combed the waters nearby.
Working in pairs of two, the divers were seen preparing ropes that to be used underwater in the event they find the car’s occupants.
“We are ready to do this. We pray that we get the vehicle today. We are just waiting for low tides so that we get into the water without delay,” Diver Susan said.
The car plunged 60 metres deep but available machines, according to some sources, can last divers for only half the depth.
On Sunday evening, their Toyota ISIS KCB 289C veered off the rear ramp aboard the MV Harambee and sank into the ocean headfirst.