Friday 11 August 2023


TRAGEDY recently struck the Odzi community after three people suffocated in a 19-metre deep well due to excessive smoke from a petrol-powered water pump.

Messers Last Murehwa (31), Taurai Kamutanho (41) and Eleben Kadenga (38) had been hired by Mr Caleb Chiwandika to drain water from the well before the water pump emitted smoke which choked the men to death.

The incident which left scores of villagers dumbstruck happened in Nyamajura under Chief Makoni’s area.

Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Norbert Muzondo confirmed the incident and said investigations are in progress.

“Chiwandika hired the three to drain water from a 19-metre deep well. Kamutanho and Kadenga went into the well and switched on the water pump. The petrol powered water pump, however, emitted smoke which filled up the well and caused them to have difficulties in breathing.

“They screamed for help and Murehwa went into the well to check on the two. He was also affected by the smoke before he could rescue the two. The three suffocated and died in the well.

“Chiwandika advised other villagers about the incident. Police attended the scene. The deceased bodies were retrieved and were taken to Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital for post mortem,” said Inspector Muzondo.

No foul play is suspected.

In interviews, villagers said incessant efforts to rescue the three by pulling them out using a rope were fruitless as the pump had emitted excessive smoke.

One villager, Mr John Madziro of Village 1C in Nyamajura said the deceased intended to dig the well deeper, but wanted to drain the water first.

“After entering the well, I think they realised that there was no air at all. They failed to switch off the engine in time. We tried to assist them, but it was very difficult as the smoke was excessive. When we realised that the three had died, we alerted the police and they swiftly came to the scene,” said Mr Madziro.

Another villager said: “We tried to advise them not to get inside the well with the pump as they could possibly face breathing challenges due to excessive smoke. They, however, insisted. They tried to escape from the well but suffocated.”

The deceased, Last Marehwa’s mother, only identified as Mai Marehwa, said: “I was busy doing my errands when I was informed that my son was in the well and suffocating. I quickly rushed to the scene and also took a rope intending to assist by pulling him up. However, when the body was retrieved from the well, I could tell that he had already died.” Manica Post


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