A wedding ceremony is supposed be the happiest day of one’s life, but for a couple in Kagujo village in Mishomoroni, Mombasa county, the ceremony ended in sorrow when six guests died after a slab covering the septic tank they were standing on caved in.
The six, among them children aged between 14 and 16 years, died instantly while one person is still recuperating at Sayyid Fatma Hospital in Kisauni, Mombasa county. The incident occurred as the couple was taking photographs with friends, neighbours and family members.
The wedding had taken place at a mosque in Kisauni earlier and the bridal party and the guests from both sides visited the bride’s home for further celebrations in accordance with Islamic customs.
Witnesses said some of the guests stepped on top of the unfinished septic tank slab at least to catch a glimpse of the activities, but overwhelmed by the heavy load, the lid of the 10-feet deep underground tank caved in, claiming at least seven people.
“They were standing on top of the tank taking ‘selfies’ when the tank caved in, immediately we were forced to stop the celebrations and embarked on rescuing the victims,” said Hilary Riziki, a guest.
The bridegroom Sadam Zero narrated how he narrowly escaped death, after he was pushed away from the tank, minutes before it began collapsing.
“We were standing next to the tank, as people were busy taking photos with us before a commotion ensued and everyone began shouting, as we were pushed away from the collapsing tank we escaped death by a whisker.
It was supposed to be a happy ending, but it has turned…,” said Zero tears rolling down his cheeks. “We were surrounded by so many people that we did not notice that the tank had already collapsed, until we were pushed away by a crowd as helpless children and women, went down screaming,” he added.
Zero said he is yet come to terms with the tragedy saying he has not talked to the bride, Somoe Said, since the tragedy happened. “I have not seen her since yesterday.
I have tried to talk to her but she has refused to talk to me saying the tragedy is a bad omen to our union,” he said. Mombasa County Police Commander Johnston Ipara said among the dead were, five children aged between14 and 16 years while a woman was injured and is recovering at Sayyidna Fatma Hospital.
“Initial reports indicate that there was a wedding in the area, and as residents were celebrating, they found a sitting space within the compound, and because of the heavy weight it caved in, and the seven fell inside,” he said.
Among the dead, were Mohammed Mwalimu aged 8 years, Habiba mohammed,14 years Siti Ali aged 4years, Masoud Mwalimu 13 years, and six year old Munira Adam. The police boss noted that they were working closely with various government agencies, to establish if the certain septic tank meet the required standards of construction.
“We are working closely, with officials drawn from the National construction Authority (NCA) in carrying out investigations to establish whether tank meet the required standards in construction if there was negligence in the matter the owner of the house will be held accountable”, he said.
Gube Nguma who lost his daughter during the tragedy said that, he was at pain to; express the loss of his daughter who had a bright future. “My daughter had arrived from schoolman later proceed to the weeding, where they were served with food and sat on the tank as they were eating, and unfortunately that was her last meal”, said the teary father.
He said deaths related to septic tanks had become common in the area, and called on the county government of Mombasa, to begin an exercise of, substandard septic tanks that had become death traps for residents.