Search continues for body in Chambeshi river


The search for the remains of a Nakonde man who drowned on Friday last week after a pontoon sank in Chambeshi river has entered day four.

A combined rescue team comprising officers from Northern and Muchinga provinces, who include Zambia National Service (ZNS) and Zambia Police, abandoned the search as dawn approached due to poor visibility.

ZNS officers who were also trying to retrieve an Isuzu truck Registration number ABR 3479 belonging to Tepwanji of Kasama`s Tazara area which sank together with the pontoon also abandoned the operation after efforts to retrieve the two proved futile owing to bad equipment

ZNS was this morning expected to bring in new equipments and a speed boat that would help in retrieving the pontoon and the truck which are still submerged as well as to search for the missing body.

Officers from the two provinces have set up make-shift pumps on either side of the river.

One body, identified as that of Cephas Silungwe, 25, of Mung`ongo Village in Nakonde district was successfully retrieved from Chambeshi river by the rescue team.

Muchinga Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Davie Chanda, said the remains of Silungwe which have since been transported to Nakonde, were expected to be buried in the morning today.

Mr Chanda said Government is doing everything possible to lessen the burden on the bereaved family, adding that Government has provided coffins and other funeral logistics.

Mr Chanda further said the search for the remaining body and the retrieving of the truck and the pontoon would continue immediately the weather conditions improve.

The search this morning which started at 06:00 had been suspended following heavy rain experienced in the area.

Last week on Friday two people died while three others survived after a pontoon which was carrying an Isuzu truck laden with timber from Kasama to Nakonde sank into Chambeshi river following an accident.

This happened when a rope came out of a hook forcing the pontoon to sink.

The driver who survived an accident, Lameck Simwanza, said the accident
could have been caused by over loading.

He told ZANIS at Chambeshi river last night that he was not comfortable taking the truck onto the pontoon and asked the operators of the pontoon to physically check what he was carrying before taking his truck onto the pontoon.

Mr Simwanza, who survived by holding on to the body of the truck for several minutes before he was rescued, said the pontoon started sinking as it approached the middle of the river.

He said the two dead victims jumped into the river in an effort to swim to the other side of the river despite being assured not to jump but instead hold on to the body of the sinking truck
because a rescue team was planning a rescue operation in the next few minutes.

Mr Simwanza said the two – Cephas Silungwe and Matthews Sichone – drowned right in the middle of the river as he watched helplessly whilst he was rescued and put onto a canal and taken to the other side of the river in chief Chanda Mukulu`s area of Kasama district.