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Search for drowned man still ongoing 54 hours later

The body of an elderly man who drowned while crossing Maara river in Tharaka- Nithi County using a makeshift footbridge is yet to be recovered since the Saturday.
Sources say the deceased John Kaburu Mwiandi, aged 78, was crossing Maara river from Kanoo village in Ganga ward to attend a burial at the neighbouring Muthambi ward on Saturday morning when he slipped into the river.
Villagers say the planks of the makeshift Ria Mugumo Bridge gave in throwing him into the strong river currents that drove him downstream into a waterfall.
Efforts by the villagers to look for the body of the elderly man who was accompanied by his kin during the catastrophy have not borne fruit 54 hours later and they claim they have reported to their area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Peterson Mwirigi and the police with no success.
“We were alerted of our grandfather’s misfortune around 10 am on Saturday morning and efforts by the villagers to find the body have not been fruitful since,” said Ms. Sharon Nyaga a granddaughter to the drowned man.
She said they have informed the area MCA over the danger paused by the makeshift bridge several times without any success and even about the drowning of their grandfather but no one has come forth to help them retrieve the body.
When contacted, the MCA said he has sought assistance from the county government.
Lawrence Gitonga ,a neighbour who is involved in the search said police visited the scene and promised to send divers to search for the body but they are yet to arrive.
Maara OCPD Johnstone Kabusia confirmed that his officers had visited the scene and had sought assistance from divers from the Kenya Redcross Society but added their divers were away with most of them on training while among the two on duty one is in Kisumu while his counterpart is in Mombasa.
This was confirmed by the Kenya Red Cross Society Central regional Co-ordinator Gitonga Mugambi who called on the area residents to be patient and wait for 72 hours when the body is expected to float.
Residents called on the county government to build a foot bridge across the river to save them from the agony of loosing lives year after year.
They said seven people from their village have died while trying to cross the river since 1990.
They further expressed great phobia of crossing the river meaning business is cut off between the two neighbouring villages yet some people live on one side of the river but own pieces of land on the other.
The place is home to huge waterfalls hence the reason why Wiru Tea Company Ltd is constructing a hydro electricity water project in the place to serve its factory and neighbouring business people and residents.
By David Mutwiri

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