Tuesday, October 18, 2011

‘‘Swimming for money’’ ended in tragic death of a swimmer.

A twenty seven year old man drowned yesterday in Ndaragwiti dam in sipili division Laikpia County. This was confirmed by the area chief Mr. Paul Nasky.

 The incident took place at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon. Three men left Sipili shopping centre and headed for Ndaragwiti Dam. According to Fred ndungu, who was among the three; the reason for going there was to determine who amongst them was ‘‘hero’’ in swimming. They placed a bet for a hundred shillings to be won by the best swimmer among the three. 

 Fred Ndungu, one of the swimmers started by swimming across a hundred meter stretch of the dam and back. The ill fated John Mwaniki, 27 could not resist the challenge, or else he could be looked down upon by his mates. He undressed quickly and dived into the water, beats his legs and hands around and before long he was completely exhausted. He sunk below the water, sprung up and whistled for help!
 Ndungu who is a better swimmer sensed danger and went to lend a hand to his friend. ‘‘I held him and tried to pull him out of the water, but he was very heavy. He even tried to hold me down and I thought we may both drown! I left him and hurried out’’ said Ndungu. 

 When Ndungu felt helpless, he came out, dressed very fast and went across the village to raise alarm that his friend was drowning in the dam! Within no time villagers had gathered by the dam in their hundreds. They put together their creative minds, sought for the rear wheel tube of a tractor, and inflated it with pressure to improvise a floater. One young man volunteered to steer the home made vessel as he scavenged the water using a long metal bar and a long hooked stick in desperate attempts to rescue the drowning man.
 Word went out to Sipili market and people started trooping to the water point in large numbers, they went on foot, bicycles, motor bikes and even vehicles. By five o’clock, hundreds of people stood by the dam watching helplessly as the lone ranger volunteer attempted to scavenge through the water hopping to stumble upon the body of John Mwaniki. 

 The large dam lay calm, except for the rolling ripples of water moved towards the lower end by the blowing wind. Onlookers sat in groups and communicated in low tones, bewildered by the tragic incident. By five O’clock in the evening, the cloths of John mwaniki were still by the dam side and people’s hopes of finding him alive was starting to diminish. The body was found floating on the water today, 18th/10/2011 in the morning.  

Drug and substance abuse.           
Sources privy to the provincial administration, reported that the slopes of the damn overlooking the water, was associated with young men smoking ‘‘weed’’, the street  name for ''Bhang'' an illegal drug. The place is said to be soothing due to the evening breeze. ‘‘They feel as if it is the coastal beach’’ said one of the men, who strongly believed the men went there to smoke the substances. One man in the crowed who sought anonymity said, the extra ordinary courage in john Mwaniki’s jumping into the water, knowing too well he was not good in swimming, was inspired by the influence of the ‘‘weed’’.
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