SWSC employee dies while stuck in trench
MANZINI - An employee of the Swaziland Water Services Corperation (SWSC) died and two were seriously injured after they were trapped for almost two hours in a trench at Ngwane Park.
Firefighters and employees of the company tried to rescue Nathi Simelane from Hlatikhulu when he got stuck inside a six-foot trench as his body got wedged inside.
It was gathered that before he got trapped, Simelane raised his hand to ask for help from his colleagues.
However, when they tried assisting him, two of them fell into the trench and also got trapped.
The two employees, Musa Mdluli and Banele Zwane were saved by firefighters at the tragic accident scene.
Mdluli and Zwane were rushed to the Manzini Clinic as they were reportedly seriously injured.
Simelane’s head dropped lifelessly as they struggled to free his body from the mud.
At the time SWSC’s Manzini Regional Manager, Sikelele Fakudze and Jameson Mkhonta pranced up and down in confusion at the scene, while the firefighters tried their best to pull Simelane out of the trench. After almost two hours of being trapped, Simelane was freed from the muddy trench.
The residents who had gathered at the scene were asked to leave as his body was taken out.
SWSC managers waited for about 20 minutes until two police vehicles arrived with a team headed by Superintendent Aaron Methula from the Manzini Police Station.
Journalists were also barred from taking pictures of the deceased as he was taken to one of the police vans.
According to the SWSC Public Affairs Manager, Jameson Mkhonta, an asbestos water pipe collecting sewerage at Ngwane Park burst when the employees were trying to reach the level of flow by digging the trench.
"The asbestosis pipe was triggered by the soil vibration caused by the water. The employee was buried by the huge amounts of soil and he was trapped inside the trench.
"This is a tragic accident and as SWSC we are still shocked. We would like to pass our condolences to his family and also wish the two admitted employees a speedy recovery," Mkhonta said.
... trapped employees scream for help
MANZINI - The employees who were trapped inside the trench were heard screa-ming, ‘Valemanti’- loosely translated, ‘turn off the water’.
According to one of the eyewitnesses, Gugu Mhlanga, the deceased Nathi Simelane was trapped in the trench at around 11.30am together with Musa Mdluli and Banele Zwane.
"We just heard them shouting saying the others should close the water from the main pipe. We came running and found the three of them trapped inside the trench.
"The police and Fire Emergency Services personnel were called to attend to the accident," she said.
Another witness Mercy Simelane said she had gone to check on the water as it was not running through her property due to the fixing of the pipes when she saw firefighters trying to rescue the three employees from the SWSC.
SWSC Communications Manager, Nomahlubi Matiwane, when called confirmed that an employee was killed.
She passed on her condo-lences to the Simelane family and said the other two other employees were in a stable condition at the Manzini Clinic.
"We are very sad about the accident which turned out to be tragic. The company would also like to thank the other employees for the bravery they showed when trying to assist their fellow colleagues who were trapped inside the trench. It is much appreciated," Matiwane said.
She also passed their condolences on behalf of the company and said the employees who experienced a trauma at the scene would be expected to take a break from work and be taken for counselling by the company.
She said the company was still conducting further investigations on the accident so to compile a full report.
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