British tourists saved after boat sinks in shark-infested waters off the coast of Mombasa during fishing trip

A shark
A shark

Two British holidaymakers feared for their lives after their boat sank in shark-infested waters off the Mombasa coast.

Ash Paisley and Mark Lane were in the process of landing a 300lb marlin when they realised one of the crew was scooping up water and throwing it out of the boat to try to stop it from sinking.

After the five local crew members unsuccessfully tried to start the engines, the boat began to sink and the group had to put on life jackets and spend the next two hours floating in shark-infested waters ten miles from the Mombasa shore.

Eventually, they were rescued by passing Singaporean oil tanker Hafnia Africa which scrambled a lifeboat in response to a distress signal sent by the crew before the ship sank.

Dad-of-one Ash, 46, said they linked army so they wouldn’t get swept apart, adding that the crew were in bad shape, being unable to swim.

“I was reasonably calm, then Mark turned to me and said, ‘Don’t mention the ‘S’ word’”, Ash said.

“I was thinking, ‘What, shipwrecked?’ He said, ‘S-H-A-R-K’. That’s when I began to get worried.”

Former RAF engineer Ash now works on fibre-optic networks while Mark, 43, is a car salesman.

The friends were spending a two-week holiday in Mombasa after deciding they were getting too old to keep up a 20-year tradition of going to Glastonbury festival.

They had paid £400 for the six-hour trip to catch big fish, but if it wasn’t for the tanker, Ash thinks they would both be dead.

“It was just supposed to be a nice holiday – a bit of fishing, safari, and a bit of relaxing,” Ash said.

The pair returned to the UK last week and may return to the decidedly shark free safety of Glastonbury next year.

Thankfully, shark attacks in Kenya are rare. According to Shark Attack Data, there have been 10 since 1971 with the last off the coast of Mombasa in 2011 when a 17 year old male was killed while swimming off Mama Ngina Beach.

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