Kenya boat capsize ‘kills six’

2 January 2012 Last updated at 17:34 GMT

Relatives of one of the people who drowned on Sunday night carry a casket with the remains of his body for burial in LamuIt is not clear how many people died in the accident

A passenger boat has capsized off the Kenyan coast, killing at least six people and leaving several more missing, officials say.

Some 25 people have been rescued and 23 have swum to shore, according to the Kenya Red Cross.

The exact number of passengers on board is not known as records were not kept but some reports say there were 70.

The boat capsized on Sunday night as it sailed from the resort of Lamu, close to the mainland border with Somalia.

More than 20 other passengers were initially feared missing, but a Red Cross spokesman in Lamu told the BBC the final figure may be lower.

“We expected the relatives of the missing persons to come and register their names. But only one person has come to register two missing,” said Mohammad Abdul Qadir.

He said he had seen six bodies, while he had been told that a seventh person had been buried straight away according to Muslim tradition.

Fifteen people pulled from the water were admitted to hospital, the Red Cross says.

Kenya map

Lamu West deputy police chief Joseph Sigei told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that there was little hope of finding any more survivors.

He said the accident occurred when the boat’s pilot tried to avoid colliding with another vessel.

He said the boat was going to Mokowe, ferrying passengers to get a bus to Mombasa.

Similar accidents in the past have been blamed on boats being overloaded.