14 December 2012

Kenya: Ferry Mishap Prompts Daredevil Leaps At Likoni

There was a near stampede at the Likoni crossing channel yesterday as panicking commuters jumped off from one ferry into another after a mishap.

MV Harambee had "overshot" the ramp on the mainland side of the channel. Kenya Ferry Services said the vessel got stuck after the water levels suddenly declined.

"There were spring tides, meaning the water levels increased and ebbed out very fast," explained KFS public relations officer Francis Magomati.

Unfortunately, by the time MV Harambee was picking up commuters and vehicles to cross them over to the island side, the water had ebbed out, leaving the vessel stuck.

A lorry carrying wood from Tanzania got stuck while attempting to board the MV Harambee which was already lifting its prow. Panicking commuters started dangerously jumping off the MV Harambee into another ferry that had been brought to help the situation.

Three more ferries had to be used to ferry commuters from either side but the movement speed was reduced due to construction works near the ramp at the mainland side. Normal services resumed six hours later at around 2pm.

This comes barely two days after the KFS managing director Hassan Musa assured ferry users of improved services as he announced an increase toll charges for vehicles from January.

Likoni residents are now calling for more permanent solution saying the area is a disaster in waiting. "It's very unfortunate. The people living on the mainland side of Likoni have to risk their lives daily to eke out a living," said Wafula John, who uses the ferry daily. Magomati said nobody was injured in the mishap.

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