Four family members suffocated in a well in Budiriro 4, Harare, yesterday while trying to drain water using a submersible pump.
It is suspected that the man and his three sons could have died from inhaling carbon monoxide gas while in the deep well.
The deceased were members of Johanne Masowe Housing Cooperative.
A church member who preferred anonymity, identified the deceased as Cleopas Jokomera and his three sons, Cleopas Jr (35), Macliff (31) and Tom (age not given).
Zimbabwe Republic Police chief national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident.
“I can confirm that four family members died today in Budiriro. It is a sad situation and all the bodies were retrieved by the Sub-Aqua Unit and the Fire Brigade,” she said.
“According to investigations, the family was trying to drain water from a well using a pump which could have released carbon monoxide and they inhaled it. They died one after the other while trying to rescue each other.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said the family’s neighbour also jumped into the well and tried to help the drowning brothers and their father.
“In a statement to the police, the neighbour said he did not know how he came out of the well alive. He said he became weak and dizzy as he went down the well,” she said.
Meanwhile, long-suffering State doctors issued a warning to go on strike on Wednesday – unless President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke government honours its promise of improving their conditions of work.
This comes as hundreds of thousands of civil servants, who include teachers, are at serious loggerheads with their employer – following the failure by the government to pay them their salaries on time, as well as bonuses, as promised by Mugabe last year despite the parlous state of the national fiscus.