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No, photo not of South African divers joining Kenyan ferry accident retrieval effort

As Kenyan navy divers struggled in early October 2019 to retrieve the bodies of  a mother and daughter who drowned in a ferry accident, a photo was shared many times on Facebook with the claim it showed South African divers brought in to help with the effort. 

“Hapa umeona Kenya Navy? [Have you seen Kenya Navy here?],” one user said in the photo’s caption. “South African private scuba divers are on the final steps to retrieve the car that plunged in water killing a mother and her daughter. Kenya tuko nyuma sana na huwa hutaki kushindwa [Kenyans we are lagging behind but we never concede].”

The photo was posted on a Facebook group page with a similar claim, after the Kenyan government reported it had spotted the victims’ car at a depth of 58 metres.

The caption here is: “Just being curious; Kenya Navy walituambia wamefika 90+ meters na bado wanaenda chini! Today south Africans wametoa bodies 51 M… so they have not been diving anyway! Ama walikua wanatafuta Oil?”

The Kiswahili translates to: “Kenya Navy told us they had reached a depth of over 90 metres and claimed to be going deeper. The South Africans have today removed the bodies at 51 metres. So they [the Kenyan Navy] have not been diving anyway! Or were they looking for oil in the ocean?”

Photo from West Indies

A reverse image search shows that the photograph was taken on 26 July 2008.

It can be found on stock photo site Alamy. The caption says it’s of a diver off the coast of St. Kitts, a West Indies island in the Caribbean. 

The photo is credited to “Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist” Andrew McKaskle for the US Navy.  

It also appears in a document titled “The US Navy’s Military Sealift Command: 2008 in Review”.

The bodies of the two drowned in the Kenyan ferry tragedy were finally retrieved on 11 October 2019. – Dancan Bwire


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