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Lightning kills tea worker in Kericho

By Nikko Tanui | November 15th 2020 at 15:21:22 GMT +0300

Lighting struck dead a tea worker at Unilever Tea Estate on Sunday.

The company's corporate affairs director Joseph Mitei said the incident happened after the 42-year-old tea leaf inspector at Cheimen Tea Estate stepped out of protected tea collection area.

"The workers had been directed to take shelter at the shed after Lighting Detection Systems (LDS) indicated that there was a likelihood of a lightning strike in the area. However, for some reason the deceased walked out of the protection area and was unfortunately struck dead a few metres from the protected zone," he said.

Mitei said the company has invested heavily in erecting lighting arrestors and other equipment since the tea estates are susceptible to lightning strikes.

"We have covered all of our properties including the residential houses, office and schools in all the estates straddling Kericho and Bomet County," he said.

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Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (Kpawu) Kericho Branch Executive Dickson Sang called on the company to train the workers further so that they can manage to interpret messages from Lightning Detection Systems (LDS) easily and understand how it works.

"The training should be comprehensive,” he said.

At the same time, Sang called on the company to support the deceased's widow who has been left behind to take care of the couple's eight children by herself.

"We also call on the company to offer counselling and time off to the deceased colleagues who witnessed the lightning strike," he said.

Meanwhile, a 35-years-old illicit drink brewer from Chemosot Location in Bureti Constituency is said to have sunk and drowned in a swamp trying to flee from the police.

Chemosot Location Chief Vincent Mutai said the suspect was selling the brews in an open field when police officers from Ngoina Police Station ambushed him.

“The suspect fled towards a swampy area and slipped into a flooded deep pit. The body of the deceased is yet to be recovered” he said.

After the incident, irate residents barricaded the Ngoina road trading centre stretch of the Kericho-Litein Road along, causing a heavy traffic snarl-up stretching for over three kilometres either way.

A contingent of anti-riot police officers arrived at the scene and dispersed the protestors to restore traffic flow.

Lightning strikes Joseph Mitei Cheimen Tea Estate Kericho tea estate
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