Dickson Ondieki. He died in the incident. 

| Pool

'Mum hasn't spoken': Families reel from loss of loved ones in Kilimani crane incident

David Okiki, 28, would have been meeting his in-laws today.

His family was all set to pay his wife-to-be’s dowry on Saturday, August 28, until a tragedy in Kilimani scuttled their plans.

David's fiancée, Betty Achieng’, had already travelled upcountry in readiness for the formal introduction of her husband-to-be.

But instead, she is mourning the death of the man she knew would be the father of her children.

David was off-duty on Thursday, the day of the tragedy. He had been granted leave from work and had only come to the Qwetu construction site to bid his colleagues goodbye as he embarked on the journey to meet his in-laws.

During his visit at the construction site on Thursday, technicians were dismantling a crane on the towering building around midday when it reportedly malfunctioned.

There was a loud bang and only after the cloud of dust had settled did the magnitude of the loss become clear. Nine people perished in the incident. Only one person survived the tragedy.

As news of the accident spread, Austin Obilo, David's brother, rushed to the scene. He had hoped that by some miracle, his brother had survived. David did not.

“Since I broke the news to our family in Migori, mum hasn’t spoken. She was shaken to the core,” a teary Austin told Nation.africa.

 Dickson Ondieki. He died in the incident. 

Photo credit: Pool

The other eight who died in the incident are Cheng Xiaoli, Danson Kahindo, Cheng Jianguo, Joseph Mutugi, Peter Nganga, Dickson Ondieki, Stanley Alisa and Enock Obara. 

They all worked for ZJCC Engineering and Construction Company.

Their bodies are at the Chiromo Mortuary awaiting post-mortems scheduled for Saturday.

Families of the victims get updates from Kenya Red Cross officials. 

Photo credit: Daniel Ogetta | Nation Media Group

One of the victims, Ondieki, leaves behind a three-year-old daughter and an expectant wife. He had just turned 30 the day before he died.“He was a good, caring husband,” Mercyline Mwarabe, his widow, said.

She added: “He was not a rich man. He was just trying to make ends meet.”

Alice Moraa, Ondieki's sister, says she was going about her business when she got the call about her brother.

The caller said that he could be among the dead, but asked her to calm down and confirm first.

“Then a neighbour confirmed he was dead,” she says, adding that his employer has not shared any information with her family.

“Other than the reports in the media, the company is yet to inform us what happened. What really happened? We need to know,” she said.

For now, she's only left with the memories of a brother she says was a good cook.  "He used to make for us sweet chapatis,” she says.

Lydia Nyambura, a hotelier, lost her elder brother, Joseph Mutugi, in the incident. She is still reeling from the news and says she has also lost a mentor and advisor. 

“He always bailed me out when I was broke,” she said.

Jospeh Mutugi.

Photo credit: Pool

Her father, she says, has been hit with the sad news hardest.

“My brother's death has left my father speechless. He is just crying,” Ms Nyambura said.

“I’ve never seen him this sad.”


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