General News of Monday, 30 May 2016

Source: classfmonline.com

Yeji boat disaster: Death toll now 11

Eleven bodies in total have so far been retrieved from the Volta River following Sunday’s boat disaster which initially killed six children.

The bodies of the six children (all under three years old) were retrieved from the river on Sunday by a rescue team.

Subsequently five bodies were retrieved on Monday May 30.

Apart from being overloaded with passengers, the boat that sunk also had cows on board, Pru District Chief Executive Emmanuel Kwame Poku revealed in an interview with Prince Minkah on Class91.3fm’s Executive Breakfast Show on Monday May 30.

The boat capsized after hitting a tree stump, a correspondent with Alive FM in the Brong Ahafo Region, Daniel Takyi, reported.

According to the DCE, the cows kept getting the boat off balance in their attempt to get up during the trip, per accounts related to him after the accident. “…I know they were overloaded and somebody even told me there were some cows in the boat, so anytime the cows want to stand up in the [boat], you know what will happen. So, it’s true overloading and the tree stumps are the causes of the numerous accidents we have been getting,” he said.

Mr Poku said the naval officers patrolling both ends of the river have been mandated to check overloading, and, so, wondered why the problem persisted.

In an earlier interview with Prince Minkah on the same programme, DSP Abraham Bansah, Yeji District Police Commander, also confirmed that overloading played a major role in the accident.

He has, therefore, suggested that there be naval officers positioned to patrol both ends of the Volta River to ensure that vessel owners do not overload.

The passengers were being ferried from Nantwekope to Yeji in the region when the accident occurred.

A survivor told journalists that he had to struggle to save his wife and mother in the course of the rescue efforts.

The rescue team is still searching for other passengers who could not be accounted for. There have been numerous boat accidents on the Volta River in the past years. Three people died about a week ago on the same river in a similar accident.

As part of measures to curb such accidents, the DCE revealed that a law has been passed banning boat movements on the river after 6pm. He said currently the pontoon used in ferrying loadand passengers across the river, “is out of use, so, we depend on the boats”. He also said despite the availability of life jackets, passengers shun using them due to the heat it attracts.