Zambia: Construction Council Probes Sewer Deaths

THE National Council for Construction (NCC) has launched investigations into the accident in which five workers died after the earth collapsed on them as they were working on a sewer line in Lusaka.

NCC executive director Sylvester Mashamba said in an interview yesterday that officials had been assigned to inspect the accident scene in Ibex Hill and come up with a comprehensive report on the matter.

On Sunday, five workers engaged by SBCC Construction Company died after part of the earth caved in as they were emerging from a sewer tunnel.

Dr Mashamba confirmed that it was not the first time an accident occurred along the sewer line under construction in Ibex Hill.

He said two months ago a man died after he was buried alive along the same sewer line that was being constructed by SBCC Construction Company.

"The first time such an accident occurred along the same sewer line under construction, we wrote to them to observe safety measures and there is correspondence to this effect," he said.

Dr Mashamba said the NCC would wait for a detailed report from the officers on the ground.

Meanwhile, police in Lusaka yesterday summoned SBCC Construction Company officials for questioning over the death of five workers.

The bodies of the five workers were only retrieved on Monday by a combined rescue team after an overnight operation.

Police assistant spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said in an interview yesterday that police have recorded a statement from the owners of the company.

He said an investigation file had since been opened and investigations would continue.

Mr Hamoonga said police would today conduct a post-mortem before the bodies could be buried.

"Four of them will be buried on the Copperbelt where they came from, while the other one would be buried here in Lusaka," he said.

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