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06 December 2023

Eight drown, 20 missing in Kenya boat accident


At least eight people drowned and more are feared dead after a boat capsized in rough seas off the Kenyan tourist island of Lamu, police said on Monday.

"We are continuing the search for survivors, and have taken 12 people to hospital where they are recovering after their boat was capsized by high waves in the dark of Sunday evening," said regional police chief Aggrey Adoli.

"We have retrieved the bodies of eight people who drowned, and are continuing the search today, in case there are more," he told AFP, adding the passengers were travelling the short distance from Lamu to the mainland.

Kenya's Red Cross said in a statement that more than 20 of the over 80 passengers on board were unaccounted for, with a tracing desk set up "to help families to claim missing persons."

"We are hoping that some people managed to swim to the shore, and they then made their own way by bus, but since there are no official manifest lists of passengers for a boat such as this we continue to search," Adoli added.

Lamu had been holding a festival as part of traditional New Year celebrations, including boat races, and the island was crowded with tourists.