The widow of a middle aged man whose drowning death is being treated as a suicide has said that someone used his phone to inform her that the man has drowned in the river.
The man’s family who live in Mwamonda village in Nyaribari Chache area of Kenya has appealed for help to find his body.
The elderly man’s last moments before he was washed off by the ravaging river were captured in a video. He was captured throwing himself into River Gucha in what appears to be a refusal to be rescued.
The video recording, posted on social media, shows a youth attempting to rescue the man, who looks drunk, at the bank of the largest river in Kisii, but he seems determined to take his own life. The rescuer then gives up.
“He is gone, the story is done,” a voice of the person recording the video is heard saying.
Earlier, the youth are heard cheering the man on before one of them went to rescue him in vain.
The video ends as the man goes far and deep into the overflowing waters of River Gucha, leaving behind his phone, shoes and coat.
The youths are left emptying the coat as they walk away.
On Thursday, the Mokomba Ntabo’s family appealed for help to enable them to retrieve his body. Police are dealing with the matter as a case of suicide.
River Gucha cuts across Bomet, Nyamira, Migori and Homa Bay counties before it joins Lake Victoria.
The Standard visited the man’s home on Thursday and found his widow, Nyaboke Ntabo, some of her sisters and villagers gathered and possibly waiting for information of any possible recovery.
Nyaboke said Ntabo, 60, left home on Saturday morning to go to their other farm in Ogembo Bomachage Chache more than 50km away.
They had taken breakfast together before he left. “He spoke to his grandchildren as he was leaving. I was preparing to go to church, although my husband was to go to church on Sunday,” said Mrs. Nyaboke.
Nyaboke said her husband had not been taking alcohol in the last three months.
“Somebody called using my husband’s phone and told me that he had drowned, and that I should visit Ogembo Police Station.
We tried to inquire who took the phone to the police but never got an answer,” said the sobbing mother of six. She said her husband had learnt some swimming skills, having grown near the river.
“This is a shock to us, and we hope to retrieve the body,” she added.
A relative, David Omunga, who is leading the recovery mission along the river, said they were overwhelmed and weary.
According to area Chief Josphant Anyega, the search for the body has been hampered by heavy rains that have made the river deeper and difficult to navigate.
The Saturday evening incident happened a few metres from the spot where Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi nearly fell into the river after a section of a bridge they were inaugurating collapsed.
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