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Winnie Achieng’s final moments before car plunged into Indian Ocean

By Mohamed Ahmed December 24th, 2020 2 min read

Winnie Achieng was already up by 6am yesterday, ready to go to Shell Service Station in Bonje, Changamwe, where she worked.

“I was with her yesterday night. I dropped her home and she allowed me to go with the car because of the curfew. We agreed that she picks it in the morning,” Ms Achieng’s brother Kennedy Odundo said.

She arrived at her brother’s house around 6.30am and left with the car.

Ms Achieng, a debt collector with the fuel company, then drove to work.

She also markets the company, according to her relatives.

New school

Later in the morning, she went back to the house to get her son.

“They left together. I was not worried because she has been doing that for long,” Ms Achieng’s sister Beatrice Odundo said, adding that she routinely goes to Mombasa on business.

About 10 minutes after the two left, Ms Odundo received a call from a number she had never seen. It was her nephew on the line.

“The boy informed me that they had been involved in an accident in Kibarani and that his mother was in the sea,” she said.

“I received a second call informing me that my sister was dead.”

Ms Achieng, 33, was dead on arrival at Coast General Hospital.

According to a police report obtained by the Nation, Ms Achieng’s car plunged into the ocean after she hit a pavement while heading to Mombasa Island from Changamwe.

Swam to the shore

“The driver who was using the outer lane had overtaken a motorcycle. The vehicle then hit the pavement, lost control and plunged into the Ocean,” the police report says.

The 12-year-old got out of the car as it sank and swam 30 metres to the shore.

He left the hospital with his father after being treated for minor injuries.

“I saw the car heading towards Mombasa. It suddenly plunged into the ocean. I rushed to the scene to rescue the occupants,” said Mr Omar Chigamba, who pulled the woman out of the vehicle.

She was still buckled up when he and others arrived.

“She did not look well as we pulled her from the sinking car,” Mr Chigamba said.

The boy’s father, Nashon Otieno, told the Nation that he and Ms Achieng had talked about taking him to a new school the previous day. “

“She had just moved house. That was our last conversation,” Mr Otieno said.

Ms Achieng had planned to celebrate Christmas at her house in Changamwe, her family said.

The body is lying at Coast General Hospital mortuary.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho condoled with Ms Achieng’s family, terming the incident “harrowing”.

He urged motorists and other travellers to be cautious while on the road, especially during this festive season.

“It is painful to lose a loved one in this manner. I humbly urge road users to follow traffic rules and exercise extreme caution while driving,” Governor Joho said.

On September 29, last year, Ms Mariam Kighenda and her four-year-old daughter Amanda Mutheu died in a similar accident at Likoni channel.

It took almost two weeks to retrieve the bodies from the Indian Ocean.