Twenty people injured in a stampede at Likoni ferry
Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu
Several people reportedly sustained serious injuries following a stampede at the Likoni ferry crossing channel yesterday.
The incident occurred after the new MV Safari stalled midstream, leaving commuters stranded for 30 minutes.
Mv Safari stalled after it collided with another ferry on the sides as it was offloading passengers on the mainland side.
According to witnesses, the impact punctured a hole on the new Ferry sucking in Ocean water that is believed to have damaged machines internally.
Mombasa Red Cross Chairman Mahmoud Noor said about 20 people were injured in the process.
“Those injured were taken to Coast General Hospital where they are recuperating. We are still assessing the situation and in an hour’s time we shall be able to monitor the situation,” said the chair.
Earlier, Boniface Mwangi, one of the witnesses who was at the scene said he had counted at least 14 people who have sustained injuries and were receiving first aid at the waiting bay before ambulances arrived.
This is not the first time the channel is experiencing a stampede. Cases of frequent gridlock at the tunnel as a result of ferries stalling have been rampant in recent times and ferry users are always in tension whenever they use the tunnel.
One of the worst incidents was witnessed on October, 2015 where 11 people were wounded in a stampede following congestion after three vessels reportedly stalled.
In March this year, several commuters were injured in almost similar circumstances after irate commuters grew impatient and defied social distancing orders.
Regarding Tuesday’s incident, it remains unclear what caused the stalling of the new ferry considering the vessel is only three months old plying the waters.
MV Safari arrived in the country in April, from Turkey where it was assembled by builder Ozata Shipyard Company.
It was supposed to offer relief to thousands of commuters who have endured perennial crisis occasioned by congestion at the crossing channel.
Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) management said MV Safari was likely to bolster operations at the channel, which is currently struggling with traffic flow orchestrated by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
Carriage capacity of existing ferries was also reduced after the management enforced social distancing procedures on the vessels to curb the spread of the contagious disease.
Currently, ferries operational are MV Kilindini, MV Jambo, MV Kwale, and MV Likoni. MV Harambee and MV Nyayo are undergoing repairs at the dry dockyard.
MV Safari has a capacity of 1,359 people among them 12 with a disability and 64 vehicles at a go.
The ferry arrived after 27 days of cruise at sea. This is a sister ferry to MV Jambo which arrived in July 2017