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10.04.2006 General News

120 deportees perish on Volta Lake

A boat carrying about 150 deportees from Dudzome in the Afram Plains to Abotoase in the Eastern Region has capsized on the Volta Lake, killing about 120 people on board.

A source disclosed to the Daily Graphic that the 150 passengers had been deported as illegal settlers on the Dudzome Forest Reserve and forced onto the 70-passenger capacity boat by officials of the Forestry Commission.

It said in addition to the excess number, the deportees also had on board property, including livestock and personal effects.

They were heading to their home town near Akatsi-Abor when the disaster occurred last Saturday.

Rescuers managed to save 30 passengers and retrieved three dead bodies. Bodies of the victims, who are yet to be identified, have been deposited at the Worawora Hospital mortuary for autopsy.

According to a police source, the accident occurred at about 12 nautical miles from Abotoase when the boat ran over a stump and developed a hole, causing leakage.

He said subsequently, the boat encountered strong tidal waves during a storm at about 4.30 p.m. and smashed against another stump.