The Likoni Ferry tragedy that claimed two lives on Sunday evening, September 29, left the deceased’s kin seeking private divers’ services in retrieving the body.
This is after delay by the government to rescue the two and further retrieve the drowned car and its occupants.
The deceased’s Kin hired Musa Sila, a 54-year-old private rescue diver who is based in Mombasa.
Sila, who was brought in to retrieve Mariam Kagenda and her daughter Amanda Muthe,4, is the head of Kenya Rescue Divers that works in collaboration with the Kenya Navy and other government agencies.
Reports by K24 Digital indicated that Sila, who was born and raised in Mtongwe, became a name to reckon with when he participated in the 1994 Mtongwe Ferry tragedy.
“We have done volunteer rescue diving since Mtongwe Ferry accident up to today. Yes, I have made a name for risking my life to save lives and recover bodies, but my pay is not commensurate. I believe the day I will meet the president I will be in a better position,” Musa disclosed.
In 2017, the diver led a team of others among them his wife, in locating the wreckage of a chopper that plunged into Lake Nakuru.
Musa also boasts of single-handedly retrieving two bodies of Tanzanian brothers who drowned near Fort Jesus, in a swimming expedition gone wrong.
He also recalled diving into the Indian Ocean without an oxygen mask to save a drowning man who had been trapped in a water boozer that had plunged into the water.
According to Musa, it would have been possible to save Mariam and her daughter, if Kenya Ferry Services had standby rescue divers.
He further differed with KFS authorities who had stated that that attempts to rescue the victims at the Likoni accident could have been disastrous.
Musa, who attributed his diving skills to growing up by the ocean, recalled that he has saved countless lives in an almost similar situation.
However, Musa declined to offer his services to Mariam’s family after the government retracted him together with his team, on grounds that they were communicating false information to the family concerning the bodies of the mother and her daughter.
“Let me quit from this operation. I have nothing to say but to let everything go,” Sila informed journalists at the scene of a tragedy that has exposed the sheer unpreparedness of the country’s naval forces.
Government Spokesperson Colonel (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna, on Wednesday, October 2, informed residents that the government had hired a robot to assist in the rescue operation.
Later on, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho gave Ksh2 million to the family to have experts from South Africa help retrieve the bodies of the drowned victims.