Three workers suffocate to death after elevator faults at Mityana coffee factory

The underground elevator shaft where three workers at Zigoti Coffee Factory in Mityana District died of suspected suffocation on November 3, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

Mityana, (UG): Police in the central district of Mityana are investigating circumstances under which three casual labourers died at Zigoti Coffee Factory in Zigoti Town Council, Mityana District.

According to Wamala Regional Police Spokesperson, Ms Racheal Kawala, the incident happened at around 12 pm on Friday when the police Fire Station in Mityana received a phone call from Zigoti Coffee Factory Limited manager, Mr Musa Mutagwa that three adult males had tragically died in the factory’s elevator shaft.

Upon receiving this information, Ms Kawala said the Fire Prevention and Emergency Rescue Team promptly rushed to the scene and successfully retrieved the bodies.

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“The deceased were all employees of Zigoti Coffee Factory and are identified as Collins Sseguya, 21, James Kimbuggwe, 19, and Bashir Mwigala, 25- all employed as casual labourers,” Ms Kawala said.

She said their preliminary findings suggest that at the time of the incident, the coffee processing machine was in operation but encountered a malfunction and was subsequently turned off.

“It is alleged that Kimbugwe (deceased) descended into the elevator shaft to investigate the issue but tragically failed to return. This prompted Collins Sseguya and Bashir Mwigala to descend and attempt to rescue their colleague but unfortunately, they too did not make it out,” Ms Kawala noted.

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She added that they suspect the deceased may have succumbed to suffocation due to an oxygen deficiency in the underground elevator shaft.

The bodies were taken to Mityana Hospital pending postmortem as investigations continue.

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