The vehicle that plunged into the Indian Ocean at Likoni crossing channel in Mombasa with bodies of two occupants has been retrieved.
The bodies of 35 year-old Mariam Kighenda and her four year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu who were trapped in the family car were brought to surface on Friday at 4.10pm after 13 days of intense recovery operation.
The recovery of the bodies and the vehicle brings to an end the multi-agency search and recovery mission led by the Kenya Navy.
Hundreds of residents thronged the busy Likoni crossing channel to witness the retrieval of the car and two bodies from the depth of the sea.
At hand to receive the two bodies were members of the family led by grieving widower John Wambua, local leaders and government officials among them Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Senator Mohamed Faki, Navy Commander Maj-Gen Levy Mghalu, Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimet and Government Spokesman Col. (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna.
A team of South African private divers hired by the family also joined the multi-agency rescue team in the efforts to recover the ill-fated car and the victims.
Joho commended the multi-agency team for the efforts to recover Mariam and her daughter Amanda under extremely difficult circumstances.
Joho castigated those who accused Kenya Navy of laxity saying retrieving bodies from deep sea was not an easy task.
Maj-Gen Mghalu said state agencies should learn from such disasters and improve on safety and security measures in the maritime industry.
He said the sea tragedy was a wake- up call for Kenya Ferry Services to invest in divers and necessary safety equipment.
Ms Koimet thanked the muti-agency rescue team and all those involved in the recovery mission for the successful operation.
The PS said the rescue team has had to contend with various challenges including huge shipping traffic, muddy water and high spring tides.
Ms Koimett conveyed the government sympathy to the family of the two victims and assured them of the necessary support during this difficult time.
Christian and Muslim clergymen offered special prayers at the site of the tragedy moments after the bodies of mother and daughter were brought out of the ill-fated car.
By Mohamed Hassan