A search for bodies of two brothers who drowned in the crocodile infested river Tana last Friday in Galbet ward, Garissa County, turned tragic when one of the volunteer divers accidently drowned.
Korio Kusow arrived at the scene of the incident Sunday at around noon and volunteered to search for the missing bodies, only for him to disappear into the raging water two minutes later.
However, the body of the eldest brother resurfaced and was pulled out of the water and later buried in accordance to the Islamic burial rites leaving the other two in the river. The body of the diver was also recovered later.
According to the area Chief Salat Mohammed, one of the two brothers was awaiting to join form one in a school in Wajir, while the older one had cleared his form four in 2018.
“They went for a swimming expedition in the crocodile infested river at around 5:30pm on Friday and never returned,” Mohammed said.
The chief said this was the twentieth incident to occur at the same point in a span of two years. He urged parents to closely monitor movements of their children especially during the school holidays.
“We have unsuccessfully sealed off the entry points to the river where children sneak and swim but they always find new routes to go swimming,” he added.
Kenya Red Cross regional manager Mohammed Abdikadir said there has been a major challenge getting professional divers and the few that were there had little technical skills on the exercise.
Abdikadir cautioned those willing to offer assistance in the rescue operation but lack skills to keep off.
“The diver who is a local boda boda operator had no knowledge of the operation and that is why he drowned,” he said.
Recovery of the remaining body continues amid dwindling hopes, as it could have been eaten by crocodiles beneath the river and the remains washed downstream.
Area MCA Abdirizak Ismail said there was need to acquire speed boats and professional divers to help in drowning incidents and other water related accidents.
“It’s a pity that four days after the drowning took place, we have not gotten professional divers to do the job,” he said.
By Jacob Songok