‘It Would Take Me Just Two Hours To Retrieve Likoni Bodies,’ Swedish Diver Declares as Government Goes for Robots

    A Swedish scuba diver living in Kenya and who is also a whales and shark expert has volunteered to scale down the Likoni channel waters to retrieve bodies of two victims who drowned last Sunday after their vehicle plunged into the ocean from a ferry.

    Volker Bassen, 51, who has been married to a Kenyan woman for 10 years and have five children together said he was willing to retrieve bodies of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu from the ocean for free.

    Mr Bassen is the founder of the East African Whale Shark Trust. He has a rich portfolio as he was the diver contacted to recover the body of a Swiss national in 2012 after a helicopter plunged in Lake Michelson. He avers to have been involved in rescue missions in different countries and is experienced in the deep water diving.

    Volker first arrived in Kenya from Sweden more than a decade ago and has to date established several diving training schools in the country.”

    A good number of those I trained now work in various dive destinations in Egypt, Maldives, Dubai, Australia and Europe, among others,” he said.

    Bassen (courtesy)

    He said he would use his resources to compliment the good work the Kenya Navy divers were doing.”I am lending out a helping hand purely on humanitarian grounds and not asking for anything in return,” he added.

    “I have all the equipment required and access to special gases to go that deep. My plan is to attach a rope and a lifting bag, which can be inflated in order to lift the car up to the water surface,” he said.

    He admits that he would never attempt such a foolish thing if it was not for his shark shield device.

    “I love deep sea diving. My heart goes out to this family and I am prepared to do it,” he said. He reiterated that with a team of other divers already on site with specialized equipment like eco-sounders, it would take them two hours to retrieve the bodies.

    Bassen was in the company of Ali Khan, another diver, yesterday visited the site of the accident as the duo hoped to join the search and salvage team today and deploy his two boats, one of which is equipped with electrics-like sight scanners, GPS and eco-sounders.

    Bassen said the Mombasa harbor waters and its surroundings was home to bull sharks, one of the few species that can inflict serious damage and even kill. He said a shark shield would prevent that from happening.

    He said retrieval work was a daunting task.”Bodies of victims decompose fast, particularly in tropical waters,” said Bassen. He said in his sea work, he worked closely with his wife, who is a trained lawyer and marine scientist.

    While there is help being offered, Government is fumbling with robots. Spokesperson retired Col. Cyrus Oguna had earlier claimed that owing to poor visibility, robots are being used to locate the bodies.

    “The divers are not relying on their vision, they are relying on touch and based on that touch they can be able to interpret if what they are touching is a vehicle. The robots direct them where to touch and go,” said Oguna

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