Kenya: 6 Tourists and a Guide Dead in Hell's Gate National Park Tragedy

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya.
1 September 2019

Nairobi — Seven people, among them 6 Indians were swept away Sunday at the Hell's Gate National Park.

Police and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officials said a body of a woman had been found, while the six were still missing, with fears they could be dead.

"One of the bodies has been recovered but we are yet to find the six others. A search will continue tomorrow morning," a KWS official who cannot be named said, "we have two survivors."

The tourists were washed away alongside their tour guide as they explored Hell's Gate, where 2003 film "Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" was shot on location.

A statement from the Kenya Wildlife Service said,"It is with deep sorrow that we announce a tragedy this evening in Hell's Gate National Park in Naivasha in which an unknown number of tourists are feared to have drowned in flash floods while others survived."

The statement issued on Sunday night said the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife was coordinating government agencies in a search and rescue operation that was set to continue Monday.

"Our hearts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of those who died in the tragedy," the statement said.

Seven years ago, seven members of a church group-the Pentecostal Church of East Africa (PCEA)-died when they were washed away by floods at Ol Jorwa, a dangerous area with gorges in the park, prone to flash floods during the rainy season.

"It does not have to rain in Hell's Gate, whenever it is raining in the surrounding areas of Longonot Mountain, flash floods will always occur and they are very dangerous," another official who was involved in the search and rescue of the church members in 2012 said.

Hell's Gate, which received its name from 19th century explorers, is around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi and just south of Lake Naivasha.

Its spectacular scenery inspired the Disney animation "The Lion King".

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