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Safari tourists rescued by helicopter from Kenya flood

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RAF Flight Lieutenant Nick Cowen helped in the rescue effort

Two Britons were among dozens of tourists on a luxury Kenyan safari holiday to be airlifted to safety after their camp was hit by flash flooding.

Campers staying at the popular Samburu National Park in the north of the country were forced to clamber up trees or onto roofs as 4x4s were swept away.

The Royal Air Force and UK army, who train in the area, joined the rescue.

Hours of torrential rain caused the Ewaso Nyiro River to burst its banks, submerging luxury lodges.

The floods also destroyed an important elephant research centre.

Destruction

Safari tour guide Steve Lekango said at least 17 tourists, including Britons, Germans and Americans, were rescued by helicopter after bridges were destroyed by the deluge.

"At the moment every one of the guests in our camp is OK," he said.

"It was very, very bad from 6am to 8.30am - there was a lot of destruction.

"Bridges were taken down so three helicopters were called to take guests away.

"Most of the guests were forced to climb trees while they waited," he added.

The affected area is not far from where the British military carries out regular training exercises.

The banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River are a hotspot for tourists making trips to see elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and antelope, which drink from the river.

The BBC's Will Ross, in the Kenyan town of Nanyuki, said that just a few months ago the country was suffering from one of its worst droughts in decades.

Some argued these extremes of weather were a sign this region was suffering the effects of climate change, our correspondent added.



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SEE ALSO
Kenya flood: Eyewitness
05 Mar 10 |  Africa
Elephant research 'washed away'
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Timeline: Kenya
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