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Sonko Rescue Team, Kenya Navy divers clash over Lake Nakuru chopper recovery

Search operation on Lake Nakuru were delayed for hours on Saturday morning after two groups of divers conflicted over the credit for the recovery of the chopper wreckage.

The Sonko Rescue Team and the Kenya Navy divers had a stand-off for close to two hours after the rumours emerged that one of the teams had claimed credit for the discovery of the chopper wreck.

Drama began when the Sonko Rescue Team divers arrived at the scene and found the Kenya Navy preparing to go into the waters to lift the wreckage to the land.

The accused the Navy divers of wanting to take ‘undeserving’ credit for their hard work and refused to go back to the waters until their efforts are acknowledged.

Led by their team captain Mr Musa Juma the Sonko team said Kenya Navy divers had come earlier than usual so as to be seen as the ones who did much of the work.

“We have been coming here early in the morning before them but we are surprised to see that today they want to take control of everything after we have discovered the wreckage,” said Mr Juma.


The team wanted to be allowed to run their operations as they have been doing before.

The Kenya Navy captain however, cleared the stand off by reconciling the two teams together in a meeting. He called on the two groups to work as a team and celebrate the achievements together.

“We have been working as a team for the last 29 days and just like we endured the challenges together. We should also celebrate the achievement as a team,” said the captain.

The two groups of divers later agreed to put aside their differences and go back into the lake to have the wreckage lifted to the shores.

The wreckage of the helicopter which crashed on October 21 was discovered on Friday afternoon about 2.44 kilometres on the western side of the lake.

By Friday evening the divers had pulled the wreckage 200 meters from the shore.

The body of one of the victims, Ms Veronica Muthoni, was retrieved from the wreckage and taken to Umash Mortuary. The bodies of two people, Mr Sam Gitau and John Mapozi, are however yet to be retrieved.