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Two people are feared dead in Mombasa after their car veered off, plunging into the Indian Ocean at the Likoni Ferry.
The saloon car, a Toyota ISIS registration number KCB 289C was onboard MV Harambee ferry and was crossing to the island side from mainland, before reversing, plunging into the deep sea midstream on Sunday evening.
The car was the last to board the ferry.
According to Likoni OCPD Benjamin Rotich, the vehicle lost breaks and reversed just before the ferry docked.
He said the occupants were likely to be a mother and her child.
However, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, in his Twitter handle, said four occupants were in the car at the time of the accident and could be dead.
“They might be dead because the incidence happened an hour ago and its deep sea,” said Likoni OCPD, Rotich.
According to him, ferry officials attempted to throw out rescue savers near the car, but the occupants were trapped inside the car and could not access them.
“We want to advise commuters to adhere to directives being given by the security officials at the ferry,” Rotich noted.
Witnesses said another person, a man, dived in the sea to save the occupants but was unable to do so, dying in the waters too.
The police boss noted rescue operation was being carried out by the Marine Police, Kenya Ferry Services, Kenya Red Cross and members of the public at that time but were unsuccessful due to the darkness.
The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) said the accident happened at around 6:15 pm.
“At 1815hrs a saloon car reversed and plunged into the ocean a board MV. Harambee while plying to the island side. The car and occupants are yet to be found by rescue teams,” said the KFS on Sunday evening.
On that day, only two ferries were operational at the Likoni channel.
“MV. Harambee, Kilindini and Likoni are the ferries serving you at the Likoni channel. We wish you a blessed Sunday evening,” KFS said earlier before the accident in their daily communication to the public.
“The cause of the accident is still under investigations as search and rescue efforts are underway…we share our sincere sympathies to the affected as the salvage operations continue,” KFS added later on.
A day before the accident, one of the ferries MV Kwale was grounded on the island side while loading.
KFS said: “We expect the ferry to be afloat in the afternoon at high water levels.”
Likoni ferry crossing serves hundreds of people and motorists daily. Motorists pay a crossing levy while pedestrians cross from mainland to the island and vice versa freely.
Meanwhile, Kenyans on Twitter have slammed KFS following the incident accusing it of laxity and incompetence.
According to many of them, there was sufficient time for KFS and other ferry rescue operators to salvage the situation before the car sunk.
Below are some of the messages shared by agry Kenyans on Twitter about the accident.