By Leonard Ncube
A snake that allegedly fatally bit a 25-year-old man from Lupane in a 45-metre deep well on Wednesday last week has kept rescuers at bay as everyone is afraid to enter the well and retrieve the body.
Police yesterday confirmed the incident.
The Civil Protection Unit brought in the police sub-aqua unit, rangers from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Forestry Commission, Fire Brigade and underground mining experts and they all allegedly baulked at entering the well.
Sandile Mguni had descended into the well using a rope when he shouted that he had been bitten by a snake.
He had been contracted with two colleagues to rehabilitate a well at Mr Glen Moyo’s homestead in Makhekhe Village when they spotted a snake at the bottom of the well.
The trio boiled a drum-full of water which they poured into the well intending to kill the reptile.
Believing that the snake was dead Mguni and his workmates returned to the homestead to resume work but he was bitten while underground.
Police were called in and could not do anything.
On Saturday officers from the Bulawayo City Council fire brigade department were called in and spent the night trying to retrieve the body but failed.
Yesterday Mguni’s body had not been retrieved from the well as none of the potential rescuers was brave enough to go down the well.
Gomoza ward 12 councillor Malaki Tshuma said the whole community is in shock.
Police spokesperson for Matabeleland North Chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese said the incident was rare.
She said a team of snake catchers from Bulawayo had volunteered to travel to Lupane to retrieve the body.
“On November 15 we received a report of suspected sudden death by snake bite or suffocation from a well. The victim who we can’t confirm dead for now since the body hasn’t been retrieved was in the company of two others doing some domestic work at Mr Glen Moyo’s homestead where they were employed to scoop mud from a well,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said Mguni is suspected to have been bitten by a venomous snake in the well.
“A week before the incident they spotted the snake and boiled a drum full of water which they poured in the well to kill the snake. They stopped working and returned on November 14 at 7AM intending to resume work,” said Chief Insp Makonese.
She said Mguni spotted the snake as he was being lowered and requested that they pull him up with the intention of picking a bucket to put the snake as he believed that it had died from the hot water they had poured the previous week.
“He armed himself with a spear and carried a bucket. As his colleagues were lowering him down, they heard a hissing sound and Mguni suddenly called out that he had been bitten. They pulled back the rope but only an empty bucket came up,” she said.
Chief Insp Makonese said a report was made to the police who mobilised other stakeholders. The Chronicle