Tue, 15 Aug 2000

One killed in a well

PURWOKERTO, Central Java: One person was killed while three others slightly injured when they were cleaning a water well in the village of Pageraji, Banyumas regency, on Sunday.

Eyewitness Darminto, 45, who is also the owner of the well, told police that Zaenuddin, 35, the deceased, had agreed to clean the well for him, and asked three other people, Suparno, 30, Mistahudin, 25 and Qoridin, 20, to help him.

"After the water was pumped out, Zaenuddin voluntarily entered the 15-meter well to dredge the mud. However, he failed to reappear after 10 minutes. The three other men then entered the well to find out what was happening. They, too, did not reappear," Darminto said.

The neighbors managed to lift the four out. They found Zaenuddin dead and the three "sinking" in the three-meter-deep mud.

Locals said that many water wells were drying up. Cleaning the wells was a normal routine undertaken by the residents to get more water from the wells, they said (45/sur)