By Alusine Sesay
The entire New England Ville community and its immediate environs were gripped by shock on Independence Day as two residents drowned in a 70 feet borehole.
The incident, according to eye witnesses, occurred at about 3pm on 27 April.
The National Fire Force were unable to retrieve the bodies of the victims – Pa Lansana Koroma, a private security guard and Amadu Turay, 14, a candidate pupil of the National Primary School Examinations, NPSE, of the Ansarul Islamic Primary School – from the narrow deep well, despite deploying a 56 feet ladder.
The fatal incident occurred when the elderly Pa Lansana Koroma was called upon to clean up the borehole, which they say was already running dry.
Since the deceased was the one who had dug the hole more than three years ago, he willingly turned up for the job, but eventually died as a result of possible suffocation caused the absence of oxygen, after he had set fire to a rock at the bottom of the hole a day before the incident occured.
14 year old Amadu Turay, according to his foster parent, Alusine Samura, who is a traditional healer, was deep asleep in the afternoon of the incident when one Daddy Kay rushed into their house and solicited his assistance to rescue the old man, who was already entrapped and suspected dead in the well.
Samura, however, told Concord Times that at the deceased boy had once descended the 70 feet hole retrieve a rubber bucket which residents use to collect water from the well, which he successfully did, but was reprimanded.
“I flogged and warned him not to undertake any such risky venture any longer. I was attending to one of my patients when he was called upon by one Daddy Kay. I didn’t know the reason he was called upon since I was busy inside the room. Had I known I would have intercepted and prevented him from going on such a risky venture. By the time I left the room to the scene, I met Amadu struggling to death in the well. I wasted no time and reported the matter to the New England Ville Police Station,” he narrated.
Samura, who was in tears, further told Concord Times that he has stayed with the boy since the death of his (the deceased) father for over ten years, noting that “He was very much helpful to me and I loved him so much. He was very brilliant and just attempted his final mock exams in preparation for the NPSE come Saturday, 3rd May this year.”
Meanwhile, with concerted efforts by the Disaster Management Department of the Office of National Security, the National Fire Force, the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Freetown City Council and Sierra Leone Red Cross Society, the remains of both victims were yesterday removed from the well, with the use of a giant hook connected to a strong leather rope.
The remains were then taken to the Connaught hospital mortuary, while the owner of the well, Pa Mallay Conteh and his wife were placed under protective custody by the Sierra Leone Police at the Criminal Investigation Department.
The New England Ville community is no stranger to such accidents due to the fact the area suffers from acute water supply. Some years ago, two people lost their lives following a mudslide at one of many unprotected sources of water – Morjabie.
According to a community leader, M.B. Sesay, Guma Valley Water Company request the sum of Le.500,000 (slightly above US$100) for each household to be connected to the dam which supplies water the deprived community.
However, Guma Valley officials could not be reached for their comments on the above allegation, although Member of Parliament representing the community (Constituency 109), Hon. Amadu Fofana, promised to take up the issue with Guma Valley.