NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – Seven members of a Nairobi church youth group who were swept away by flash floods at Hells Gate in Naivasha are now confirmed dead.
By Monday morning, three bodies had already been retrieved and the remaining four had been sighted. Efforts were being made to retrieve the remaining four, according to officials of the Kenya Wildlife Services.
“We found the bodies yesterday evening at about 7pm. However, this morning, we resumed the search as early as 5.30am. Our team has gone into the gorge where there is no network and we hope to give an update later on this morning when they emerge,” the KWS Director in charge of the Central Rift Conservation area Lydia Kisoyan added.
She described the incident as unfortunate since there were no signs of rainfall when the group embarked on their journey.
“When the group embarked on its journey, the day was fine. There was no indication whatsoever that there would be any rains. It is really unfortunate since this is the first accident to occur at the park,” she stated.
She said that KWS was aided by the local community and Administration Police officers to trace the remaining four bodies.
KWS communications manager Paul Odoto later told capital news that the process of retrieving the trapped bodies started early on Monday morning.
“All the seven bodies of members of a church youth group who were swept away last evening by flash floods in Naivasha have been sighted and are being retrieved,” he said in a statement.
The Kenya Red Cross also brought in helicopters to aid in airlifting the bodies from the gorge.
KRCS spokeswoman Nelly Muluka said this was to ease the retrieval process as the rescue team’s efforts were being hampered by the difficult terrain.
“We will bring in helicopters so as assist in the retrieval process. The gorge there is difficult to climb and is a danger even to our rescue teams. We expect that the choppers will ease their efforts,” she stated.
The Society in the meantime put up two tents at the site, one dealing with the tracing of relatives of those who are missing following the incident while the other tent will offer psychosocial support for those who have been affected by the tragedy.
The seven went missing just before dusk on Sunday evening, when the 40-member youth group from Mukara PCEA Church on the outskirts of Nairobi encountered sudden flash floods.
Hells Gate National Park lies to the south of Lake Naivasha.