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Hell’s Gate tragedy: all 7 bodies of tourists and a guide found

Rescuers carry the body of tourist who was among seven people swept away in Hell’s Gate National Park on September 1, 2019-CFM.

NAIVASHA, Kenya Sep 2 – All the seven bodies of tourists and their guide who were swept away in Hell’s Gate National Park have been found, police say.

Two of the bodies were found on Sunday night, three on Monday morning and the seventh later in the afternoon.
“All the bodies have been found, We now have all the seven of the people who were swept away on Sunday,” a police officer taking part in the search told Capital FM News from the expansive park.

The tourists were washed away Sunday, while in the company of their guide, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said, and announced the indefinite closure of Ol-Jorowa gorge where the tragedy occurred.

“The gorge in Hell’s Gate has been closed to the public with immediate effect due to the continuing rains,” said Paul Udoto, from KWS Communications Department.

The gorge in Hell’s Gate is famous for local and international tourists, and is the scene of the 2003 film “Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” which 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.

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.

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Its spectacular scenery inspired the Disney animation “The Lion King”.

The park, established in 1984, is also home to three geothermal stations.

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