A search is underway in Lamu to look for a boat carrying 11 family members and the captain of a vessel which disappeared in the Indian Ocean shortly after leaving Kizingitini Village on Sunday.
Among those in the boat was the ODM candidate for Lamu East Constituency seat in the just-concluded general election Mr Shekue Kahale.
He came in second in the elections.
Lamu police were Sunday evening alerted of the disappearance and marine patrol boats were immediately dispatched on a rescue and search operation.
Tens of local divers also joined in the night search for the missing youthful politician and his family members.
Lamu’s Operation Linda Boni Director Joseph Kanyiri has confirmed that the sea vessel, a small 40HP Yamaha Enduro-powered boat is feared to have capsized between 10am and 12pm Sunday around Manda Bruno while on its way from Kizingitini to Lamu Island.
According to Mr Kanyiri, the boat left Kizingitini Village at around 9am and was last spotted at Mtangawanda Jetty at around 10am before it went missing.
Speaking to Nation early Monday, Mr Kanyiri said the whereabouts of the travellers of the vessel were still unknown but was quick to say that a search and rescue team had already been sent out to the scene.
He said on Sunday evening, the team found two fishermen on the seashores, two jerry canes, a fuel tank and a fuel pump suspected to be those of the ill-fated boat.
Mr Kanyiri also said search efforts were being hindered by high tides at Manda Bruno.
“It is true. There is a boat that went missing since Sunday morning. It was carrying one of the Lamu politicians and family members and the coxswain.
“It was moving from Kizingitini headed to Lamu. We suspect the boat capsized at Manda Bruno between 10am to 12pm.
“We sent out a search and rescue team yesterday but couldn’t find anything. They will be out again this morning on same mission.
“We need to be patient as the search and rescue team does its work. I think it’s too early to comment on whereabouts of the occupants of the ill-fated boat though it’s highly suspected [it] may have capsized due to turbulent sea,” said Mr Kanyiri.
Lamu County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo also confirmed the incident saying the boat was expected to have arrived in Lamu by at least 11am Sunday.
“Yes. There is that report of a boat missing with all its occupants. Up to now the vessel’s whereabouts and [fate] of passengers is not known. All the occupants’ phones are off since the time the boat was reported missing.
“Search is already ongoing by several agencies including our police boat, immigration, the Kenya Maritime Authority and the county rescue team. The boat didn’t arrive in Lamu as expected,” said Mr Kitiyo.