A missing matatu driver has been found alive after spending 17 nights at the Sarit Center in Wetlands, according to the police.
Philemon Mwasia, from Mombasa County, was reported missing on 18th June by his wife, after he failed to return home after a visit to a garage in Westlands. The 36-year-old man was supposed to return home a day before, according to a June 20th news release by Parklands Police Station.
A rescue team was dispatched and his vehicle was found at Westlands stage, where a mechanic said that the driver had asked for an oil change but never returned to pick his vehicle. This is what made officers from Parklands Police Station to start looking for him in the area near Parklands.
On the 7th day of the search, someone suggested that the rescue team should consider focusing their efforts in Sarit Center, where similar cases had been recorded before. This resulted in ten days of painful search inside the complex labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that is called Sarit Center.
At some point, several members of the rescue team got lost in the lower basement while the response team could not effectively communicate with the rescue team from their command in the fourth second floor. The Northern South wing was also inaccessible to the team due to their limited navigation capabilities.
Breakthrough came when a security guard informed the rescue team that the driver had been spotted begging for a visa to Kenya, and nobody took him seriously.
Not an Isolated Case
The search came to an end when the man was found on the 17th day of the search, weak and emaciated. He narrated how he had survived on handouts from strangers and some point took a part time job at a place where people were eating.
He had walked into Sarit Center to kill time while his vehicle was being repaired, and could neither find his way out nor find somebody who knew how to exit the mall.