Three die trying to retrieve phone from pit toilet

Three men suffocated to death in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa trying to fetch a woman’s mobile phone from a pit toilet, press reports said on Friday.

The woman, named as university student Dora Mwabela, dropped her phone while using a pit toilet in the Kisumu Ndogo slum neighbourhood on Wednesday night, according to police quoted in the reports.

Mwabela offered 1 000 shillings ($13) to anyone who could retrieve it. Several people ripped up the floor around the toilet and hung a ladder into the pit.

Patrick Luhakha (30) was the first to climb down, but failed to respond to calls to return.

Kevin Wambua, a water vendor, climbed down to try to find Luhakha, but slipped and fell down the 12-metre deep pit. Neighbour John Solo then descended the ladder to rescue the other two, but collapsed on the way down, apparently overcome by noxious fumes.

Police on the scene had to restrain a fourth man who wanted to descend into the deadly pit to try to save the others.
“The fumes inside must be extremely poisonous considering the short time it was taking to disable the retrievers,” acting Mombasa

police chief Peter Njenga told the Daily Nation newspaper. - Sapa-DPA

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