Search for bodies after Indian Ocean tragedy called off

The search for three bodies of people who perished during a boat tragedy in Lamu last week has been called off.

The three were among 11 people who died when a boat carrying 12 people capsized on August 13.


Only Lamu ODM politician Shekue Kahale survived the horror that claimed his wife, four children, coxswain and five other relatives.

The boat, a small 40HP Yamaha Enduro Powered craft, was heading to Lamu Island from Kizingitini when it capsized at Manda Bruno due to rough tides.

Mr Kahale, who had just vied and lost the Lamu East MP seat to Jubilee’s Athman Sharif, was found alive at Majunguni in Shanga Island the following day.

Since then, a search operation that was organised by the county administration, and which involved maritime police, immigration police, the navy and a team of local divers, has been ongoing in the area.

The search has, on many occasions, been humpered by heavy currents normally experienced at the Manda Bruno.


The nine bodies that were recovered were buried at cemeteries in Kizingitini and Lamu town according to Muslim religion.

Addressing journalists in Lamu on Tuesday, Shanga Beach Management Unit Chairman Ali Awadh, who has been leading the search team, confirmed that the search was called off on Sunday evening.

He said they ended the search after efforts to locate the remaining three bodies proved futile.

The bodies are those of two of Mr Kahale’s children aged 2 and 12 and that of his nephew aged 12.

 “For the past one week, we have literally been camping at sea. We managed to recover nine bodies which have already been buried. We also recovered the ill-fated boat,”said Mr Awadh.


“Unfortunately, we haven’t located the three remaining bodies and as it is there is nothing we can do but to call off the search.”

This means the family will have to live with the pain of not knowing where the bodies of their loved ones are and not being able to give them a befitting burial.

Mr Kahale is currently in Mombasa where he was taken to undergo treatment last week following the traumatic experience.

He had narrated how he tried to rescue his children and relatives for over eight hours shortly after the boat overturned.

However, family members who spoke to the Nation expressed agony over the yet to be found bodies, saying the situation would haunt them.


Mr Numeir Ali, Mr Kahale’s cousin, said it would have been better for the search to continue until all the bodies were recovered and buried by the family.

He said the missing bodies had affected many psychologically, especially Mr Kahale himself.

“It is so sad. Losing many family members at once like this has made us suffer psychologically,” he said.

“As a family our grief is immeasurable and it’s even worse when some of our loved ones haven’t been found at sea and the search has been called off. How do we move on from here? At least if we buried them it would be easier. This means we will never have full closure of the situation.”

Shekue Kahale saw his wife and children swallowed by Indian Ocean’s rough waters one after the other.

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