Kenya suspends visits to gorges at Hell’s Gate National Park after tragedy

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said Monday it has suspended visits to gorges at the Hell’s Gate National Park after seven people were swept away by flash floods on Sunday.

The KWS said the victims included five Kenyan tourists, a local guide and a non-resident.
An initial report said five of the victims were Indian nationals.
“The gorge in Hell’s Gate National Park has been closed to the public with immediate effect due to continuing rains,” A KWS statement said. “A helicopter will be released from Nairobi to help with the search and rescue operation.”
The KWS said six bodies of those who drowned have been recovered and that one is still missing.
Rescue crew searched the gorge throughout the night, the wildlife agency said, noting that a chopper will be sent on Monday to reinforce the teams on the ground.
“The search and rescue will continue until everybody is accounted for,” the KWS said.
Rift Valley Regional Police Commander Marcus Ochola said police officers and KWS personnel had been sent to the gorges for rescue and recovery.
“We believe the guides failed to read the weather in the area and surroundings properly hence the tragedy. They know such time it rains elsewhere before flash floods flow down there,” he said.
The Hell’s Gate, which lies south of Lake Naivasha, and which was once a tributary of a prehistoric lake, experiences floods because the gorges lie downhill.
In April 2012, seven members of a Nairobi church youth group perished after they were swept away by flash floods at the Hell’s Gate National Park.
The park is known for its scenic features.  (Xinhua)

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