Scott Hardie | March 15, 2003
In the news: "In Mombasa, Kenya, a woman was using an open-pit latrine when her cell phone slipped out of her pocket and down into the muck. Desperate to get it back, she announced that she would pay 1,000 shillings (about $13) to anyone who would dive in and recover the phone. Since that's equal to almost two weeks wages for most Kenyans, volunteers lined up quickly. The first man went down the ladder into the latrine, but never came back up. His friend climbed down to help him, but slipped and fell, too. A third man tied a rope around his waist, gave the other end to the crowd of people around the edge, then jumped in to try to rescue the first two. Unfortunately, he was overwhelmed by the fumes and passed out. The crowd pulled him back up and rushed him to the hospital, but he died on the way. At that point, a fourth man stepped up, ready to climb down into the muck, but the police stopped him and announced that, with three men already dead, the search for the phone was officially over."

Lori Lancaster | March 15, 2003
[hidden by request]

Anna Gregoline | March 15, 2003
Someone made the point on Metafilter, and I agree, that the first man went for the phone. All the others died trying to rescue the first guy. I hope.

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