Anxiety as search for missing Kericho trench diggers delayed

kericho trench collapse

Members of the public at the scene of the collapse of a trench at Tebsy estate in Kericho County on May 19, 2023.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

The search in Kericho County for two workers who have been missing since Friday, when a trench they were digging collapsed, has been delayed several hours.

One person died while two could not be found after a trench that five people were digging collapsed in Kericho town on Friday afternoon.

One of the workers at Tebsy estate escaped with bruises as he jumped out before an entire wall collapsed at about midday. The other four were buried alive while digging out the trench that was two feet wide and 20 feets deep.

By the close of the search on Friday, one of the four workers had been found dead while another had been found alive.

Authorities said Friday that they had to suspend the search at nightfall but by midday on Saturday, there were no excavators at the scene, a situation which sparked anxiety among the victims’ families and friends.

Ms Josephine Kemunto, a mother of five and the wife of missing construction worker Evans Mayaka Ogari, said he was the sole breadwinner.

"It is very worrying, heart-wrenching and unfortunate that we have to sit here and watch as nothing is being done to resume the rescue mission" Ms Kemunto said.

Mr Emmanuel Mogaka, the couple's eldest son, said he lived with his father at the Duka Moja area in Kericho town. He said they last saw each other while leaving for work on Friday morning.

"We learnt later that he had been buried alive along with his colleagues. We are hoping that like his colleague, he will be found alive," Mr Mogaka said.

Most of the earth-moving equipment was donated by well wishers, with the police, Kenya Power, Red Cross and the Kericho County Disaster Management team leading the search efforts.