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07.10.2004 Disaster

Casualty figure in boat disaster still un-established

By GNA

Abotoase, Oct. 7, GNA - The number of casualties in the John Mensah Island boat accident, which occurred on the Volta Lake on Monday has generated furore among the people at Abotoase as the number of deaths is still un-established.

Whereas, Mr Eku Aheto, a survivor told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that there were about 50 passengers on board but was silent on the casualty rate at the time of the accident, the Paramount Chief of Abotoase, Nana Anyinam Boateng said information he had gathered was that there were 60 passengers and that 50 survived.

Mr Aheto said the boat was from Abotoase and was sailing to Krachi when the accident occurred.

He could not tell the cause of the accident but conflicting reports the GNA gathered were that the boat owner's attention was distracted in a conversation with a colleague as he steered the vessel onto a tree stump resulting in the accident, while other persons alleged he was drunk.

Meanwhile, local divers made up of fishermen and boat owners on Wednesday retrieved the bodies of six persons including two children. They were identified as Eli Dadidzo, two, and a three-year old boy only known as Richard, whose bodies had been deposited at the Worawora Hospital mortuary for autopsy.

The others were, Lydia Adika, 32, Enyonam Gbeke, 28, Kwasi Hugo, 18, and Felicia Adoboe, whose bodies were reportedly buried on the bank of the Lake.

Mr Alfred K. Appiah, Nkosuohene of Abotoase said many tree stumps in the Lake coupled with a relapse in the surveillance of boat transport operators had contributed to the accidents.

He said a number of boats plying the Lake were not "lake worthy" as owners painted them only to appear new.

Mr Appiah also attributed the accidents to poor communication due to irregular power supply to the Northern part of the Volta Region, thus hampering information flow, as personnel of the Ghana Police Service were unable to send the necessary situational reports for further action.

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