Six tourists feared dead in hell’s gate flash floods tragedy

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says four people have so far been confirmed dead after they were swept away by flash floods at Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha.

The four were among seven local tourists including a tour guide who were on an excursion at the park when they were struck by floods at around 4pm on Sunday.

Two bodies were recovered moments after the incident while two more were found hours into the search operation.

KWS, in an update on the incident on Monday morning, said a search is ongoing for the three missing tourists.

“Search and rescue operation for three missing tourists underway in Hell’s Gate National Park. Two more bodies were recovered overnight, bringing the total number of the dead from the tragic flash floods to four people,” said KWS.

Police officers from Nakuru and Nyandarua Counties led by Nakuru County Police Commander Stephen Matu are at the site to help in rescue operations.

Hell’s Gate, which was established in 1984, has in the past claimed the lives of several domestic and international tourists.

In 2012, eight members of a Nairobi church youth group were swept away by flash floods.

The site which is gazetted as a National Park under the Ministry of Tourism is managed by the Kenya Wildlife Services, KWS, and covers an area of about 68 square km.

The Hell’s Gate, which lies south of Lake Naivasha, and which was once a tributary of a prehistoric lake that fed early humans in the Rift Valley, experiences floods because of the gorges that lie downhill.

Even when it has not rained, water from other regions of Nyandarua and Nakuru Counties flow to the gullies in Hell’s Gate in huge volumes.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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