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Likoni ferry accident rumour false – correct car retrieved from water

Mariam Kighenda, 35, and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu drowned on 29 September 2019 when their car slid off a ferry crossing the Kenya’s Likoni channel at Mombasa and plunged into the Indian Ocean. 

Their bodies were retrieved from the water on 11 October, 13 days after the accident.

Many false rumours about the retrieval operations circulated on social media after the accident. 

Now a Facebook post claims the car recovered from the ocean is not the one that fell off the ferry.

The post includes two photos: one of a car sinking into water, the other a screenshot of a TV broadcast showing a car being winched out of water next to a boat. The roof racks of the two cars look different, and are circled in red.

The Facebook user commented: “Likoni cars are different...”

Is this true? We checked.

Are both images related to Likoni accident?

A reverse image search of the photo of the sinking car was in fact published as early as 8 October 2013 on image library Shutterstock. The stock photo, available for advertising or marketing, is captioned: “Car swamped in flood water. Perfect for motor vehicle insurance theme.” 

Videos of the accident on 29 September 2019 show the car sinking into the Indian Ocean.  It is clear that the vehicle is similar to the vehicle in the screenshot shared on Facebook, even if the car’s rooftop is not clear.

Mariam Kighenda’s husband, John Wambua, also confirmed in an interview that the car was identified soon after the accident. 

He said: “I got an alert on Twitter that a car has slid into the ocean and the picture on that alert resembled our car. So, I immediately got my phone and I called [Mariam], her phone was off. That was unlike her. So, I rushed to the ferry and that’s when they broke the news to me.”

Wambua described the condition of the car after it was retrieved. It is clear from his interview that the correct vehicle was recovered. – Grace Gichuhi


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