Boat capsizes off Lamu in Kenya, at least 7 dead

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 01, 2012 3:33 PM
Boat capsizes off Lamu in Kenya, at least 7 dead

NAIROBI (Reuters) - At least seven people died when a boat carrying dozens of passengers capsized after hitting another vessel off the Kenyan island of Lamu on Sunday evening, the Kenya Red Cross said.

Nelly Muluka-Oluoch, a Kenya Red Cross spokeswoman, said 20 survivors had been found so far and the boat may have been carrying up to 80 passengers. She said rescue teams were searching for any more survivors.

The boat was taking people from Lamu Island to the nearby mainland.

A Lamu resident at the hospital on the island also told Reuters he had seen seven bodies. He said the small ferries typically take up to about 50 passengers from the island to the mainland where they get buses for onward travel.

Kenyans flock to the Indian Ocean coast over Christmas and New Year for holidays and Lamu is a popular tourist destination.

Muluka-Oluoch said Red Cross teams in Lamu said the small ferry was overloaded.

"The boat was carrying 80 people. So far seven bodies have been taken to the mortuary and there are 20 survivors so far," she said.

(Reporting by David Clarke; Editing by Peter Graff)