ONE after another, four men entered a water well and drowned while trying to retrieve a bucket when the string cut letting the bucket to sink to the bottom of the well.
The incident, which happened along Ogoja Road, Ikom in the Central Senatorial District of Cross River State, attracted sympathisers some of them attributing the tragedy to a spiritual force.
The first person to enter the well, John Ushie, according to a resident of the compound who gave her name as Janet, was preparing to go to work that morning and wanted to take his bath. Ushie decided to fetch water from the well but the string with which the bucket he was drawing the water fell inside the well. When the string gave way, he decided to retrieve it by jumping into the well but ended up gulping water and drowned.
His brother, Boniface, who had left the house for his shop at the Ikom Main Market, was alerted on phone what had happened. He rushed down on Okada and jumped into the well to rescue his brother but also downed in the process.
When Boniface could not come out, another neighbor jumped in to try to rescue the two brothers inside the well. He too drowned.
According to Janet, when the landlord of the compound, Eyung Ebam, saw what had happened, he jumped into the well to rescue the drowned men and he too drowned. “It was at this point that nobody was willing to get into the well and the National Drug Law Enforcement, NDLEA, officials who were mounting a road block close to the house called the Fire Service and they arrived soon ”, the eye witness told Sunday Vanguard.
She explained that when the Fire Service men arrived, one of them jumped into the well with a rope with which he tied the landlord who was the last person to drown in order to pull him out. “He tied the rope around his chest region and gradually his colleagues dragged him out but when he got close to the point they wanted to grab him and pull him out, the rope slipped and he went down again hitting the others inside which may have eventually killed everyone inside,” the neighbour said.
The four bodies were pulled out by the Fire Service men and taken to County Hospital, Ikom Four Corners and the victims confirmed dead by Dr. Ukwam, the medical doctor, there. An official of the Cross River State Fire Service, Ikom, Mt Linus Ework, said he got a distress call at about 7 am and he and his men rushed to the scene to rescue the victims but “it was unfortunate that it was a little too late as three of them were pulled out dead”.