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Last Updated:  Friday, 14 March, 2003, 12:16 GMT
Latrine deaths over Kenyan cell phone
Mobile phone
Three men have died trying to retrieve a mobile phone from a pit latrine in the Kenyan town of Mombasa.

University student Dora Mwabela dropped the phone into the latrine while she was answering a call of nature, the Daily Nation newspaper reports.

She offered a reward of 1,000 shillings ($13) for anyone who could recover the phone, worth 6,000 shillings.

Most Kenyans survive on less than $1 a day.

First, recently married radio technician Patrick Luhakha, 30, tried to get the phone back.

Not found

He ripped up the toilet floor before going down a ladder into the latrine.

The fumes inside must be extremely poisonous considering the short time it was taking to disable the retrievers
Acting Mombasa Police chief Peter Njenga
After a while, nothing more was heard from him and a neighbour, Kevin Wambua, went to check on his friend.

He then slipped and fell into the putrid mess and was also unable to get out.

A third man, John Solo, then tried to rescue the two, while policemen stood and watched, the paper reports.

He collapsed while halfway down the ladder and neighbours managed to haul him to the surface but he died on his way to hospital.

A fourth man had to be held back from trying to rescue his two friends by acting Mombasa Police chief Peter Njenga.

"We would have been talking of four dead," Mr Njenga said.

"The fumes inside must be extremely poisonous considering the short time it was taking to disable the retrievers," he said.

The cell phone was not found.

Country profile: Kenya
05 Mar 03 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Kenya
04 Mar 03 |  Country profiles

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