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Tragedy strikes as boat capsizes on Oti River in Dambai: 3 die,7 rescued

Three people have tragically lost their lives after a boat they were travelling in capsized on Tuesday evening on the Oti River near Dambai. The boat, carrying ten people from Dambai and heading towards Njari, a farming and fishing community in the Krachi East Municipality, met with disaster during its journey.

File image of a boat that capsized

This unfortunate event underscores a growing concern among local travellers who have increasingly relied on canoes to traverse the Oti River following the breakdown of the sole ferry servicing the area. The incident has reignited calls from the community for the urgent provision of a new ferry or the construction of a bridge to ensure safer passage across the river.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. In recent years, Ghana has seen a number of similar tragedies:

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  1. December 2023: Manasseh Addison Sackey, a 34-year-old assemblyman known as Teacher Obour, drowned while campaigning for re-election in the Teberebie electoral area in Prestea, Western Region. The teacher at Teberebie M/A Junior High School drowned after a boat he was on capsized in a river connecting Aklika on Monday, 4 December. He was among six passengers being ferried to another community when the incident occurred. Teacher Obour’s predecessor suffered a similar fate four years earlier.
  2. August 2023: Four farmers from Galinkpegu in the Tolon District in the Northern Region died when their canoe capsized in the Golinga irrigation dam. The incident occurred around 3 pm as they were returning from their farm. The victims were identified as Alhassan Zakaria, 40; Yakubu Danaa, 45; Alhassan Musah, 45; and Issahaku Musah. Three other farmers managed to swim ashore.
  3. May 2023: Five people went missing and one died in the Savannah Region after a boat capsized on the Black Volta while travelling from Dorkorchina to Kpandai. The NADMO district director in Bole, Mr. Kipo Sulemana, reported that the boat was overloaded with passengers and goods, leading to the disaster. A search operation was launched to find the missing people.
  4. May 2023: Nine children drowned after a boat carrying them capsized at Faanaa-Bortianor in the Greater Accra Region. The incident occurred late afternoon on a Wednesday while the children were returning from school. Of the twelve people on board, including the boat owner, nine died.
  5. March 2023: Five people died when a boat carrying mourners capsized on the Volta Lake. The incident, which happened around 9 am on a Saturday, was allegedly caused by strong winds. The victims included three children under the age of three and two women, none of whom were wearing life jackets. The boat was reportedly overloaded with more than 20 passengers.
  6. January 2023: Eight pupils from the Atikagome Community in the Sene East District of the Bono East Region drowned after their boat capsized on the Volta Lake. The pupils were travelling to school when the incident occurred. NADMO’s Sene East Director, Ibrahim Wudonyim, confirmed the tragedy, noting that the boat was carrying 20 children at the time.

These recurring incidents highlight the urgent need for improved safety measures, regular maintenance of transport vessels, and the establishment of more robust infrastructure to safeguard the lives of those who depend on river transport in Ghana.

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