In Summary
  • On Wednesday evening, angry and frustrated relatives of the three victims confronted the National Disaster Operation Centre over the fruitless search of their bodies over the last 18 days.

Some Nakuru residents and leaders have proposed use of traditional methods and rituals to recover the three missing bodies and wreckage of the chopper that crashed in Lake Nakuru on October 21.

This comes as hopes of retrieving the remaining bodies and the wreckage of the chopper continued to dwindle and some of the divers withdrew from the search.

RITUALS

“Now that the more than 40 professional divers have not been able to find the bodies for the past two weeks, we need to employ traditional methods in the search,” posted Mr John Njuguna in a local WhatsApp group.

The idea was supported by more other residents and local leaders who suggested that elders should camp at the shores of the Lake and conduct rituals to help with the search.

Kenya Navy divers.

Kenya Navy divers resume recovery operations for the Lake Nakuru chopper crash victims on October 24, 2017. Heavy rainfall had disrupted the rescue operations. PHOTO | AYUB MUIYURO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“We now need elders’ support in this search as it has become futile for the past two weeks. Perhaps rituals might help,” stated a local MCA who sought anonymity.

Christians held prayers at the shores of the lake on November 29, 2017, seeking divine intervention in the recovery effort.

The recovery of items of one of the victims early this week at the shores of the Lake, also deepened the mystery surrounding the missing bodies as the search has been conducted only in the Lake.

The search team is now also contemplating combing the nearby bushes.

EMOTIONS

On Wednesday evening, angry and frustrated relatives of the three victims confronted the National Disaster Operation Centre over the fruitless search of their bodies over the last 18 days.

Emotions ran high as the families demanded to be allowed to write to the Israel Embassy in Kenya to request assistance in searching for the bodies.

Family members are frustrated that the operation has taken too long and feel they have been given a raw deal.

The search command team held a meeting with the Rift Valley Regional Coordinator Wanyama Musiambo at the shores of the lake as the families, now hopeless, waited to have audience with them.

In the third week of the search, only a few items suspected to belong to some of the victims were found by the team, which has been spending hours in the lake daily for the last 18 days.

SOCIETAL CLASS

National Disaster Operation Centre desk officer Mr Jonathan Kertich was at pains trying to calm down the agitated families, who angrily stated that the government had failed them.

“We are very frustrated with the whole exercise if this is the best that Kenya has. Is this the best technology or it is what is being offered to us because of our level in society?” Mr Philip Kamau, relative of Ms Veronicah Muthoni, asked.

“Give me permission to write to the Israel Embassy to seek help because you have failed us.”

Mr Kertich assured the families that the search team was doing its best.

“We understand your frustrations but we are assuring you that our experts are working hard,” he said.

CRASH

The campaign chopper, which crashed on October 21, had five people on board, including three members of Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika’s communication team — Mr Sam Gitau, Mr John Mapozi and Mr Anthony Kipyegon — and Ms Veronicah Muthoni  as well as the pilot Mr Apollo Malowa.

The body of Mr Malowa and Mr Kipyegon were retrieved last week and they were buried last Saturday.

Apollo Malowa.

Casket carrying the remains of Captain Apollo Malowa at his burial ceremony in Kamukwaya Village in Siaya County on November 4, 2017. Mr Malowa died when the helicopter he was flying crashed into Lake Nakuru on October 21, 2017. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Kipyegon was buried in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County, while Mr Malowa was laid to rest in Bondo, Siaya County.

However the bodies of Mr Gitau, Mr Mapozi and Ms Muthoni are yet to be found.

At the time of the crash, the chopper was to ferry a group journalists to President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign rally in Narok County.

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