Day 10: Divers narrow search area for bodies in Indian Ocean

Wednesday October 09 2019

The search for a woman and her daughter who plunged into the Indian Ocean 10 days ago has been narrowed to a 300-metre radius, which the authorities says is promising.

Col Lawrence Gituma said divers have mapped an area within the radius with a layer of 1.5 metres of mud that shows signs of disturbance, indicating the presence of a foreign object not common in water.

"In that locality, there is a mud layer of 1.5 metres which showed a sign of disturbance by an artificial object that is not common in the sea," he said.


This comes after a 1.2km distance of the primary search area, where the vehicle was suspected to be, had earlier been mapped.

While addressing journalists, Col Gituma Wednesday said with the findings were done after four dives in the ocean on Monday and Tuesday, after the government had provided more equipment and the family hired private divers.


During the Tuesday search, he said the equipment which he had earlier noted would be brought in by the government arrived late.


After inventory checks as it is the requirement by government agencies, they then deployed a multi-beam system that is able to look at the sea bed in three dimensions (3D).

The recovery operation has been going on for the last 10 days.

The multi-agency team consisting of the Kenya Coast Guard and the Kenya Navy is also set to analyse the data of all images collected in the four identified spots that had characteristics of the fallen vehicle.

"The four identified spots that we think have got the same characteristics will be verified by additional technology which is going to be deployed," said Col Gituma.


He further said the technology, including an advanced version of remote-operated cameras, will be part of the operation, whose job will be not to do the search, but to verify four spots.

Meanwhile, the multiagency team is set to continue with the search even after Col Gituma said they had made significant progress since the beginning of the recovery operations.

According to him, this helped them cover a wide area in a short time and there are hopes that the search will end soon.


Mariam Kighenda, 35, and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu died when the car they were travelling in slipped off MV Harambee ferry into the Indian Ocean.

The incident, which occurred on September 29 was documented, and the video of the sinking car spread widely on social media.

The family of the two now camps daily at the Mbaraki Wharf in Likoni, which was recently declared a military no-go-zone as operations in the ocean are coordinated from the location.

The family's privately hired divers who joined the multi-agency team are set to continue with the search.

On Tuesday, Nation learnt from a reliable source that the divers were only given four sites where the vehicle is suspected to be.

These sites had been identified using an echo sounder which detects objects in the sea.