Kenya: Killer Gorge in Hell's Gate National Park Closed After 7 Killed

Hells Gate National Park, Kenya.
2 September 2019

Naivasha — The killer Ol-Jorowa gorge in Hell's Gate National Park has been closed indefinitely following the deaths of seven people, among them six tourists who were swept away by flash floods on Sunday, authorities said.

A search for three missing bodies was underway Since Sunday, after the recovery of four.

"The gorge in Hell's Gate has been closed to the public with immediate effect due to the continuing rains. A helicopter will be released from Nairobi to help with the search and rescue operation," said Paul Udoto, from KWS Communications Department.

Some of the bodies were recovered on Sunday night and others Monday morning.

"Seven tourists were swept away by flash floods. four bodies have been recovered while three are missing," Udoto said.

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

"Our hearts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of those who died in the tragedy," Udoto said, in announcing the indefinite closure of the famous gorge in the park that is prefered by tourists.

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 kilometers (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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