After 29 hours of agonizing rescue operations, the disaster management team in Kisii recovered the body of a 40-year-old man who was buried alive after a pit latrine he was digging caved in.
The man was buried alive on Saturday morning at Kegogi Market in Kitutu Chache North.
Mr Joseph Nyangau was among two other men who were hired to dig the pit latrine at the home.
The hole had gotten to 50 feet when its walls collapsed.
Residents and the disaster management team on Saturday said they worked from morning to evening to rescue him but by evening they still had not reached him.
Excavators were brought in to help in the rescue efforts.
Mr Nyangau’s widow Janet Kerubo said that when they heard he had been buried alive in the latrine they called the area chief for help.
“We started by digging up the sand but realised that it was too deep and that is when the county came in with their machinery at 1pm,” said Ms Kerubo.
The Chief Officer for Roads Osoro Okondo said the process took long because the soil was unstable and it kept collapsing on Sunday.
“Whenever the rescue team got close to reaching the deceased, the structure kept collapsing. It has done so twice and we have had to start the process all over,” said Mr Okondo.
The County Disaster Management Director Julius Tinega also blamed heavy rains for hampering the rescue efforts.
Even with the presence of two excavators from the county disaster management team, the man had not been retrieved a day after rescue operations began.
Mr Tinega on Saturday afternoon had predicted that they would have retrieved him by 5pm.
“The heavy rains on Saturday evening that lasted until 9pm also disturbed rescue efforts and we could not reach Mr Nyangau within the stipulated time,” he said on Sunday morning.
The director warned residents against digging deep latrines without taking precautionary measures, especially where the soil is loose.
“This is a case of ignorance on the part of the owner and the workers because the soil here was too loose to accommodate the depth of the pit latrine they were digging,” he said.
“Latrines should be no more than 25 feet in this area,” he added.
Dr Doris Nyokangi, the Chief Officer for Disaster Management, said they would ensure that the big ditch created on that site is refilled on Monday to prevent accidents.
The body was taken to the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital morgue.