Uncovered manhole ‘swallows’ man

Left embarrassed and traumatised
A man escaped with injuries from a harrowing experience in Walvis Bay.
Otis Daniels
Marschell Minnie was walking along Sam Nujoma Avenue in town when he fell into an open manhole opposite Cassa Mia Hotel.

“I did not know what hit me. Everything happened so unexpectedly and fast. One moment I was walking, and the next I found myself in a dark and awkwardly smelly place.”

Minnie, who is employed as a filing clerk at a company in the harbour town, was on his way to buy an energy drink at a service station when he disappeared into the manhole - approximately two metres deep - filled with feces and sewage.

“I was lucky not to hit my head and lose consciousness when I plunged into the drain. Imagine, I could have drowned in the sewage.”

Minnie struggled for about 10 minutes before he managed to free himself from the confines of the uncovered manhole.

“There was no one around to hear my cry for help. I struggled and eventually pulled myself out of the situation and the drain.”

He sustained lacerations and open wounds to his leg as a result of the tumble he took from the pavement surface to the bottom of the manhole.

“I went to the clinic and received a tetanus injection. I still have to go for X-rays for a damage assessment and to determine if I suffered injuries to my pelvis and hip and if I need an operation. I am also receiving counselling because it was a very traumatic experience. I still smell the feces on my body. It’s as if the odour attached itself to my skin.”

Minnie walked home, took a bath, and discarded the clothes and sneakers he was wearing in a rubbish bin after the smelly ordeal.

“My mobility was severely impacted and I’ve been left embarrassed and traumatised by the experience. I lost my source of income as a dance instructor and stress therapist. The town council should at least cover the medical expenses I incurred as a result of this fiasco.”

He later learned that a concerned resident had placed a wooden board over the open manhole. “She is concerned about the safety of the kids in the area. This is not the only open or damaged manhole in this particular area and this situation poses serious risks and danger.”

Minnie added that he was appreciative of the roads being upgraded in the harbour town. “Council should, however, look at the sidewalks and consider the safety of pedestrians.”