By KELVIN MUDENDA –
A RUMOUR that a tourist had drowned at the Victoria Falls in Livingstone yesterday morning ignited some frenzied activity by security and emergency services as they rushed about looking for the body.
Information given to the emergency services was that a tourist had slipped from the edge of the falls and that the body had been spotted at the bottom of the precipice, some 108 metre down.
Officers from the Livingstone fire brigade, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Zambia Police and medics from private hospitals all rushed to the falls to help retrieve the body.
At the falls, a crush of local residents joined other tourists on the famous Knife Edge bridge, staring down at the bottom of the waterfall, eyes locked on an object that looked like the floating body of a human being.
Efforts by the Livingstone City Council Fire Brigade to get down the gorge to get to the body were hampered by lack of appropriate equipment.
All the while, the anxiety levels were growing among the ever-swelling crowd on the narrow bridge, most of them snapping away with their mobile phone cameras at the figure in the swirling waters.
Some people, eager to satisfy their curiosity, went as far as hiring binoculars.
After hours of frustratingly little progress by the emergency services to find a way down the gorge, Bundu Adventurers Water Rafting Company was approached to help.
Staff from Bundu, an outfit specialised in swimming and water rafting as well as managing bungee jumping at the Victoria Falls Bridge, went down the gorge through the ‘boiling pot’ together with officers from the fire brigade.
The anxiety among the gathered crowd was palpable as the team came back with the news that there was a body all right. A hippo’s. Dead hippo.