Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Snake bite victim still stuck in well

By Leonard Ncube

The body of a Lupane man who was allegedly fatally bitten by a snake in a 45-metre deep well on Wednesday last week is still stuck underground, eight days after he was attacked by the reptile.

Sandile Mguni (25) who had been lowered into the well in a bucket while holding onto a rope, shouted that he had been bitten by a snake.

Mguni had been contracted with two colleagues to rehabilitate a well at Mr Glen Moyo’s homestead in Mkarabuli Village under Chief Mabhikwa in Gomoza.

They had earlier left the well after seeing the snake at the bottom of the well.

Rescuers brought in by the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) who include members of the police sub-aqua unit, rangers from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Forestry Commission, Fire Brigade and underground mining experts failed to retrieve the body.

A Bulawayo professional hunter and snake catcher Mr Ross Johnston who operates the Victoria Falls Metro History Museum and Snake Park also failed to enter the well.

Mr Johnston and a colleague Mr Admand Essat had volunteered to retrieve the body and catch the reptile but he abandoned the attempt after descending for 20 metres saying the well was too narrow for him to proceed.

Some villagers gathered courage and volunteered to enter the well while wearing rags to prevent snake bites but abandoned the effort as well.

Villagers who have literally camped at Mr Moyo’s homestead, have asked members of the CPU to hire an excavator to dig up the place and retrieve the body.

Councillor Malaki Tshuma said one villager said he had seen the body at the bottom of the well.

“Rescuers from all departments failed and some residents volunteered to enter the well. One went down and he was pulled back because he was suffocating. He however said he saw the decomposing body.

“The snake catcher also failed because he said the well is too narrow for him to use his rod. As we speak villagers are spending the nights guarding the well and are therefore appealing to authorities to provide equipment to assist reach the body,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from CPU officials were fruitless yesterday. The Chronicle