BY ELINA MBALE.
Malawi. (News of The South) – Three Malawians have died on the spot in a tragic electric incident while another one is critically ill at the country’s major Queen Elizabeth central hospital in the commercial city of Brantyre.
The three died after being electrocuted by an 11000 volts power line.
The four were hired by a private company, William General Maintances to erect bill boards at Chichiri Shoprite, a South Africn chain retailer with shops across Africa.
Chichiri Shoprite is located between the country’s High Court and Supreme court of appeal buildings in the south and Blantyre City Council head offices in the northern direction.
Eyewitnesses told News from the South, the three were electrocuted after steel ladders they were using accidentally tipped and were leaning on Elecricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) power lines.
“The victims were labourers who used to camp around the area looking for peace works.They had been hired to replace the banners by William Mauya of William general maintenance whose firm carries out maintenance work here at chichiri shopping mall,” said an eye witness who identified himself as Isaac Mawuwa.
“A few minutes later, the four were knocked down by the electric shock after the ladder they were climbing on swerved due to strong winds”.
Another eye witness Joseph Stedison who was selling newspapers at the time of the accident said the only survivor, Namweto, is said to have cried out for help but people could not help for fear of being electrocuted.
He cried for help but we were all afraid to rescue them as they were electrocuted. We knew that we would put our lives at risk if we got too close to them, said Joseph Steedition a witness and newspaper vendor around the area.
After about half an hour, the fire brigade from brantyre city council came to put out the fire but they were too late for the three. In an interview yesterday, many expressed shock on hearing about the accident. I have been doing this for over 16 years but I have never experienced a tragedy like this, he said.
Police confirmed the tragedy but could not give extra details because they were still following up the incident. Spokesperson for the ESCOM Innocent Chitosi expressed shock over the incident.
Chitosi has since appealed to the general public to always involve the corporation when they want to work near Escom infrastructure so they can be provided with technical advice and support.
“For instance, the line that passes through that place carries 11, 000 volts, which is a lot of power. So we should be involved so that we help each other and avoid such occurrences.” He told News from the South.
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