A group’s mission to console a colleague whose father had died turned tragic when their boat capsized in Lake Victoria.
The five people said to have worked at St Francis Hospital in Kasarani, Nairobi, decided to take the trip shortly after the burial.
Coxswain George Onyango said they lost control of the canoe when one of the women attempted to take a selfie, in the incident in Seme Sub-county, Kisumu.
“She created an imbalance and caused the vessel to capsize when she stood to capture the moments,” he said.
Arongo Beach Management Unit (BMU) chair Meshack Owira said the canoe which had eight people, including two navigation crew, was overloaded.
“Being a weekend, most of the officials were not at the lake. The visitors boarded the vessel without safety jackets,” he said.
Just over 200 meters from the shores, the boat started capsizing. A few fishermen rushed to save the people on board.
Three, including Mr Onyango, 14-year-old Trevor Okoth and one John Kimemia, survived the incident.
They were treated at Manywanda Sub-county Hospital and discharged, while the bodies were taken to the mortuary at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
Among the five who died were Ann Ngondi, Monica Kibe and a woman only identified as Roselyne. They died shortly after being pulled out of the water by local fishermen and divers.
The bodies of Cosmas Nyangi and Arnold Okello, who was a co-navigator, are yet to be recovered.
Hundreds of locals, led by Arongo BMU management and the local administration, continued with the search on Sunday morning, some casting their fishing nets around the scene of the accident.
They were later joined by officials from the Kenya Maritime Authority who arrived in a speed boat.
Kisumu County Commander Samuel Anampiu said the search on Saturday was interrupted by darkness and heavy rains.
He said, however, that the search will continue until all the bodies are found.
Mr Owira attributed the accident to overloading.
“The small boat was not meant for all the occupants on board and was at risk due to the turbulence of the lake,” he said.