How acclaimed Swedish diver fared in 5-hr Likoni search mission

By Reuben Mwambingu On Sat, 5 Oct, 2019 18:00 | 2 mins read
Diver Volker Bassen on Friday 11am joined a multi-agency team to search for the bodies of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter, Amanda Mutheu. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
Diver Volker Bassen on Friday 11am joined a multi-agency team to search for the bodies of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter, Amanda Mutheu. [PHOTO | COURTESY]
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    Acclaimed Swedish diver Volker Bassen on Friday 11am joined a multi-agency team to search for the bodies of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter, Amanda Mutheu, who drowned in the Indian Ocean on Sunday.

Acclaimed Swedish diver Volker Bassen on Friday 11am joined a multi-agency team to search for the bodies of Mariam Kigenda and her daughter, Amanda Mutheu, who drowned in the Indian Ocean on Sunday.

Volker Bassen, accompanied by three members of his team, mapped the briny water body a better part of the morning.

The 4-man group scanned several blocks within the waters of the Likoni channel in a bid to locate Mariam’s Toyota Isis.

The team used a four-seater motorboat fitted with screens to monitor echo signals.

At around 1pm, Bassen took a lunch break, and resumed the search operation at 3pm.

A few minutes past 5pm, Bassen wore his underwater gear, and dived into the ocean alongside a support diver.

After 45 minutes, he emerged out of the water.

Volker Bassen said they identified one spot within the sea that they suspect Mariam’s vehicle could have been deposited.

The spot, he stated, was 60 meters deep.

The diver said he wishes the State can suspend ferry operations for an hour Friday night so that they can dive and get to the “exact spot”.

“Tomorrow [Saturday, October 5], I will be travelling out of Kenya hence I won’t be able to take part in the subsequent search operation,” he told K24 Digital.

His request to have ferry services temporarily suspended Friday night was not granted.

Volker Bassen said the Kenya Navy officers also helped him in identifying the spot, though the ocean currents were “too strong at the time”.

Volker Bassen had, in an interview with KTN News on Thursday, October 3, said if given the chance, he could remove Mariam’s vehicle from the sea in 2 hours’ time.

On Friday, he told K24 Digital that he had “under-estimated the task that lay ahead”.

Government spokesperson, Cyrus Oguna, who was present during the Friday exercise asked Kenyans to be patient, saying “no human has the ability to spot the vehicle, but only Science can help in that exercise”.

“We will come back tomorrow [Saturday, October 5], let us be hopeful that tomorrow will be better than today. We can, however, not say with certainty that we will be able to get Mariam’s vehicle out [of the sea],” Oguna told K24 Digital.

Kenya Navy Commander, Levy Mghalu, was among hundreds of people who witnessed the Friday operation alongside other government officials.