Three electrocuted, nine hospitalised in Busia

Some of the victims display wounds at Busia Health center IV. Photo | URN

What you need to know:

  • The Busia Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr John Achila,  identified the deceased as Brian Elugat, 16, Derrick Wabwire, 16 and Isaac Wejuli, 21.

Three people were Tuesday evening electrocuted while nine are admitted after sustaining severe burns allegedly from a loose electric wire at a football match at Buchicha Primary School playground in Busia District.

Mr John Achila, the Busia resident district commissioner (RDC), identified the deceased as Brian Elungat, 16, Derrick Wabwire, 16 and Isaac Wejuli, 21.

 Elungat and Wabwire were residents of Solo ‘C’ Village in Busia Town, while Wejuli was a resident of Busuwu Village, Sikuda Sub-county.

Majority of the injured are school-going children between the ages of 14 and 16 years, who play football for various teams in Busia Town.

 Mr Achila added that nine boys were taken to Busia Health Centre IV where they are receiving treatment for burns sustained during the incident.

 “It is true three people have died, while nine are admitted after they were struck by electricity as they carried a tent following a football match at Buchicha Primary school,” he said.

 He added that following the incident, police and other security agencies have embarked on investigations to establish who the organisers of the football match were and whether they sought for permission as they might have acted in contravention of the Covid-19 guidelines. 

“We are interested in knowing who organised the match, who gave them permission and why they chose to violate the presidential guidelines on Covid-19,” Mr Achila said.

 According to eyewitness accounts, the victims were struck when one of the supportive metals of the tent they were carrying touched a three phase powerline.

Mr Ali Ochoo, who witnessed the incident, said the youths were carrying the tent to a nearby pine forest in celebration when a protruding metallic post on the tent hit the sagging powerline.

“I saw the powerline emitting sparks and suddenly all the twelve youths, who were carrying the tent, collapsed, one died on the spot while two died upon arrival at various health facilities in Busia Town,” Mr Ochoo said.

 By last evening, three bodies lay at Busia Health Centre IV mortuary, while the injured were admitted at the same facility.

 Mr Alamanzani Kibikyo, another eyewitness, said the tournament was organised by Busia Town Mayor, Mr Sadiki Amin, and that whereas the match ended a few minutes past 6pm, the youths had insisted on carrying one of the tents to the nearby pine forest to celebrate their victory.

 Following the incident, several people gathered at Busia Health Center IV, among them Mr Achila, the Town Clerk, Vincent Okurut and Mr Amin among others.

 Survivor speaks out

 Speaking from his hospital bed, Mr Phelix Oguttu, a survivor, told Daily Monitor that they had been told by some of the organisers to carry the tent to the pine forest, but shortly after, power hit as and they all blacked out.

 “Shortly after, I heard sparks and blacked out; I am just getting back to my senses and realising that I am in hospital,” he said.

 Mr Peter Wejuli, a medic at Busia Health Centre IV, said three of the nine who were admitted were in a critical condition, while the deceased have all been claimed by their families.

Mr Ibrahim Papa, a resident, blamed the incident on Umeme, saying they fixed the powerlines “so low” and urged the power distributor to take action lest another tragic incident might befall the area.

 A team of Umeme officials from the Tororo area office visited the scene but declined to speak to this reporter, saying they were still gathering information on what might have led to the incident.

 By the time of filing this story, a sombre mood had engulfed the homes of the deceased, while the playground, which is usually a beehive of activity, remains deserted.