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General News of Wednesday, 6 September 2006

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Death toll from boat capsize rises

Accra - The death toll from a weekend boat accident on Ghana`s Lake Volta rose to 27 on Wednesday after 12 more bodies were recovered, officials said.

The vessel was travelling across the lake, one of the world`s largest reservoirs which covers 8,500 square km (3,275 square miles), to the town of Yeji on Sunday when a sudden rainstorm flooded the engine and it capsized.

"The rescue team has just arrived and the confirmation we have from them is that 27 people are dead, seven of them children. On board there were 40 people," said Sonny Brown, secretary of the Boat Owners` Association in Yeji.

Officials said the rescue operation had now been called off.

"Any bodies should have been recovered by now," Ghana Maritime Authority director Peter Azuma, who was also in Yeji, told Reuters.

In April, about 120 people were feared drowned after a boat packed with passengers and goods capsized after hitting a stump on Lake Volta, which covers an area more than three times the size of Luxembourg.

Boat accidents are frequent in Africa. Many of the vessels plying trade and passenger routes on lakes and off the continent`s coasts are poorly maintained and lack accurate passenger records.(*)

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