How Goldmine Survivor Helped Rescuers To Locate Him Underground

BY MWANAHABARI REPORTER

Noah Ogweno spent four days trapped underground after a goldmine collapsed burying him alive.

The events at Kopuodho Goldmine in Rongo, Migori County, had brought sorrow and sense of loss right on the doorstep of Ogweno’s family.

The 24-year-old man from Mang’anga village, Kasipul in Homa Bay County, was pulled out of the rubble alive after four days and rushed to Tabaka Mission Hospital in Kisii County.

Speaking to Mwanahabari, George Ayoma, Ogweno’s elder brother described him as a hero, saying it was his resilience that made rescue operations easier.

According to Ayoma, despite staying underground for four days, Ogweno still managed to direct his rescuers on where to dig as they raced against time.

Ayoma said Ogweno kept on instructing the rescues on how to dig the upper layer of the soil to reach him.

“At one point he told us that the rescuers were digging a wrong place and that they had dug past him,” he said.

According to Ayoma, it is Ogweno’s brevity that gave everyone involved in the rescue operation the morale to continue with the rescue operations.”

On Sunday at around 1pm, rescuers saw Ogweno’s leg protruding from the loose soil after he reportedly kicked the soil.

Ogweno reportedly told his brother that he kicked the soil after he heard the sound of the excavator and the commotion so near.

The family has thanked Ogweno’s colleagues and villagers who camped at the scene from January 6 to Sunday when he was rescued.

William Odhier, his other brother, thanked Migori County government, and area leaders led by MP Paul Abuor for working tirelessly to rescue his brother.

“We were informed quite late about the incident, but when we arrived, we found locals and the entire leadership camping at the goldmine. It was the true meaning of love and we are grateful,” he said.

Odhier said they will try as a family to move their brother from his mining job after he survived the tragedy.

“We don’t want him to go back there after what happened, if we manage to get him another place, we will be happy,” he said.

Ogweno who sat his KCSE at Yala Mixed Secondary School in Kasipul left home for Rongo town in 2019 before joining mining at the nearby Kopuodho Goldmines.

Proper coordination

“We thank the excavator operators and other rescuers who worked day and night. I also wish to thank all those who offered us support throughout this operation to save Noah’s life,” said area MP Paul Abuor.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado said they swiftly moved into action to save the miner after receiving the information that he was trapped in the gold mines.

“We prayed that our equipment gets access to the main tunnel where he was trapped. We were very optimistic and upbeat that we could find him alive because he was communicating to us,” Mr Obado said.

He asked stakeholders to come to the aid of miners, saying that the sector ought to be supported.

Governor Obado issued an excavator, the Rongo MP gave out an excavator, Senator Ochilo Ayacko issued fuel and Rongo parliamentary aspirant John Zatta gave out fuel and food to have the miner rescued from the mines.

Jacob Migoga who is a gold miner in Rongo asked the government to support small scale gold miners in having gold mines that are safe for them.

Ogweno’s friends in Rongo held a brief celebration after he left the hospital.

On December 2, 8 minors were trapped in Abimbo Goldmine in Siaya County.

One of the victims, Tom Okwach is yet to be found with the family still camping at the goldmine in Siaya.

Attached photo Caption: Noah Ogweno pose with the excavator that rescued him at Kopuodho goldmine in Rongo Sub-County on Sunday.

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