Nine people drowned at Yeji in the Brong Ahafo Region, when the two engines of a boat carrying 45 passengers ceased on the Volta Lake.
Before press time, the bodies of four out of the nine people were yet to be recovered, but the remaining 36 aboard the boat had been rescued. The boat was travelling to Yeji from Kokope, a village near Yeji.
The passengers, mostly women, were going to sell their wares at the Yeji market when the accident occurred a few nautical miles from their destination at about 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
In a telephone interview with Chief Superintendent of Police in charge of the Atebubu District, Mr Ali Gariba, he said search parties were still looking for the remaining bodies.As told by him, in the course of the journey, the two outboard motors of the boat ceased and it took about 10 minutes to reservice them.
He said while they were waiting, the wind blew and the boat drifted off its course.
Mr Gariba said as the captain attempted to steer the boat to normal course, it hit a stump, which ripped the keel,resulting in a leakage. He said just as the spillage increased, another boat arrived at the scene and rescued some of the people.
Although the boat did not capsize, the passengers panicked and struggled for safety, thus resulting in those nine falling into the lake, the Chief Supt said. Police at Yeji said reports about the accident came to them at about 10:00pm on Sunday and they quickly organised a search party to look for survivors.
The police said the search had since been ongoing. “Even yesterday there was another search and as I speak to you, other people are continuing the search,” said a police source.A source, who was among the search party, said the same fate nearly befell the party when it got to the same spot. It said they were saved because their boat was not fully loaded and was travelling at a very low speed.
“I do not think this is the fault of anybody because anybody can fall victim to it,” the source said. The Omanhene of Yeji, Nana Yaw Kagresa V, also confirmed the incident, which he said, was reported to him on Monday evening.
He said he had since sent his elders to the scene of the accident who had not yet returned so he could have a full account of the incident.He added, however, that the passengers on board were said to be many. A medical assistant at the Mathias Catholic Hospital in Yeji, Mr D. D. Dzre, said on telephone that no corpse had been deposited at the hospital's morgue.
The name of the boat owner had been given as Mr Christian Ahadzi, a native of Sogakope and resident in Yeji. Of late, accidents on the Volta Lake had been on the increase giving cause for worry.In July 2000, 13 people lost their lives at Tapa-Abotoase in three boat accidents on the Volta Lake. In those cases too the boats ran over stumps.
Another disaster occurred at Tapa-Abotoase on the Amevlovikope Island in April 2002, this time claiming 99 lives, mostly children and women. That one was attributed to overloading and a weak boat.