By Talent Hwari
Four family members suffocated in a well in Budiriro 4, Harare, yesterday while trying to drain water using a submersible pump.
It is suspected that the man and his three sons could have died from inhaling carbon monoxide gas while in the deep well.
The deceased were members of Johanne Masowe Housing Cooperative.
A church member who preferred anonymity, identified the deceased as Cleopas Jokomera and his three sons, Cleopas Jr (35), Macliff (31) and Tom (age not given).
Zimbabwe Republic Police chief national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that four family members died today in Budiriro. It is a sad situation and all the bodies were retrieved by the Sub-Aqua Unit and the Fire Brigade,” she said.
“According to investigations, the family was trying to drain water from a well using a pump which could have released carbon monoxide and they inhaled it. They died one after the other while trying to rescue each other.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the family’s neighbour also jumped into the well and tried to help the drowning brothers and their father.
“In a statement to the police, the neighbour said he did not know how he came out of the well alive. He said he became weak and dizzy as he went down the well,” she said.
Snr Asst Comm Charamba urged members of the public to call the police first in such situations.
She said the deaths could have been avoided if they had called the police or sought for experts after the first child had drowned.
She, however, added that Mrs Jokomera (the deceased’s mother/wife) needed proper counselling as she was failing to come to terms with the incident.
A sombre atmosphere engulfed the Jokomera home after the shocking death of the quartet.
Witnesses told The Herald that Mr Jokomera’s youngest son, Macliff was the first to succumb to the suspected gas before falling into the well.
“He went in first and then he complained that he was feeling weak while frothing before falling into the well,” said an eye witness who preferred anonymity.
“His other brother, Tom also got into the well to rescue him and complained of the same problem before falling into the well as well.
“The other brother, Cleopas (Jnr) followed trying to rescue them again but succumbed to the same gas before their father also went in and also died.”
A neighbour, Mr Albert Takaendesa who also went in trying to rescue them, survived as he quickly climbed out after feeling the effects of the gas.
Mr Takaendesa said the wife to Cleopas (Snr) called him for help after realising that her three sons had died and when he arrived at the scene, he found the father trying to get inside.
“I then advised Mr Jokomera to call the police but he insisted that we should help his sons first, that’s when we got in, after I felt weak, I quickly went out and managed to crawl away from the well,” he said. The Herald