More than 18 people in Ghana have died as a result of the disastrous fall of a tree into the Kintampo waterfalls pool where a couple of people were swimming.
The disaster occurred at the base of the waterfall near Kintampo town, a famous spot enjoyed by locals. Many of the victims are said to have been high school students from the Wenchi Methodist Secondary School and the University of Energy and Natural Resources.
20 people are being treated at a local hospital, a police commander, Desmond Owusu Boampong told Reuters.
“It was the upper part of one of the biggest trees that came crashing down on them. It was a horrifying scene as the area was engulfed in screams and shouts for help as we arrived,” fireman Kwaku Boateng told Reuters.
“It was a difficult operation because … some untrained members of the public joined in a desperate attempt to help. We swung into action immediately with many of our men diving into the water. We used chainsaws and other cutting tools to chop the tree in pieces in order to free the victims,” he said.
The accident occurred after a storm hit the Kintampo area which is located in the Brong Ahafo region, about 144 kilometers away from the capital, Accra. This region is known for its heavy rainfalls which are frequent, this time of the year.
Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Catherine Afeku expressed her condolences to the families of the victims of the Kintampo waterfalls disaster.
“We extend our condolences to the families of the dead and pray for the injured who have been rushed to the Kintampo and Techiman General Hospitals,” she said.
The Ghana Tourism Authority will work closely with police and Kintampo local officials to ensure the families receive needed support and information, she said.