Two Tanzanian fisherman drowned on Wednesday morning after their boat capsized in the Indian Ocean near Watamu, Kilifi County.
Two others were rescued following the tragedy that occurred as they ventured into the sea to cast their fishing nets, Watamu Beach Management Unit (BMU) Chairman Osman Mwambire said.
Mwambire said the two brothers, Nasoro Ahmed Said and Said Hamad Said, died when strong waves hit their boat, casting them into the sea.
“The four were among eight Tanzanian fishermen who came here on September 9, 2019, but unfortunately the two have drowned. Their boat was hit by heavy waves as they ventured into the sea to cast their nets,” Mwambire said.
He said the body of one of those who had died, Said Hamad Said, was buried on Wednesday in Watamu in accordance with Islamic rituals while the body of Nasoro Ahmed Said had not been recovered. A search party has been dispatched to look for his body.
Abeid Seif and Said Hamisi Said, the two survivors, said their boat was hit by strong waves about 500 meters from the shore.
They said despite swimming for some time, their colleagues were overpowered by the waves and drowned.
“We were hit by four simultaneous waves that threw us out of the boat. We raised an alarm and started swimming to safety, but our two colleagues were not so lucky. They drowned before rescuers reached us,” said Abeid Seif.
Meanwhile, Mwambire said lack of rescue equipment was to blame for the slow response to the distress call, noting that the duo could have been saved as the tragedy struck them only about 500 meters from the shore.
“Although five members of the BMU underwent a rescue training course, they were unable to reach the victims in time since they were using old and shaky boats,” he said and asked the government to supply all BMUs with modern rescue equipment.