Three workers at the Bui Hydroelectric project site drowned in the River Volta when they went on an expedition after close of work on Thursday evening.
The victims were identified as Evans Afful, a native of Biadan in the Berekum Municipality; Aborigio Daniel alias Abongo, from Bamboi; and Kofi Owusu Adams from Chiraa, near Sunyani. Their bodies were retrieved from the river (the Black Volta) by a search party and deposited at the Brong Ahafo Regional Hospital in Sunyani.
The Police at Banda Ahenkro and the Police Patrol Team resident at the Bui Project site both confirmed the story and said on June, 5, 2008 the three local workers who were in the company of two others, namely Victor Anane and Sulemana Salifu, did not go home after the day’s work at 5.30 p.m.
They said Mr Hung She Wen, the Chinese in charge of blasting for the hydro project, announced that blasting for the whole day was over and therefore asked all workers off duty to go home, but the five, including the three deceased persons, did not go home.
The victims and their two other colleagues went into the bush at the riverside up-stream of the dam construction area to hunt for alligators, but their expedition did not yield any result as no alligator was caught.
At the same time, another worker, Kwesi Gota, was in his boat at the other side of the river fishing on his way home up-stream after work and decided to attend to the call of nature at the bank of the river.
Gota had been joined in the boat by the three deceased persons. The victims, who did not know boating, saw that the boat was moving in circles on the river, which made them anxious, and therefore mishandled the boat.
According to the police sources and eyewitnesses accounts, the boat shook severely and the victims mishandled it the more. At last the boat capsized and the three fell into the river.
One of the three victims, Evans Afful, swam to the riverside and Victor Anane, who was already on the riverside, made an attempt to save Evans by stretching his foot for Evans to hold but Evans’s weight rather pulled Anane and both of them fell into the river.
The three workers drowned in the river with the boat disappearing after the incident. The other three workers — Victor, Sulemana and Gota — who were not on the boat, reported it to the security department of the Bui Hydroelectric Project and the police patrol team resident at the Bui Camp went in.
Authorities of Syno Hydro, the Chinese firm working on the Bui Dam, sent the three workers to report the incident to the police at Banda, and immediately the police and personnel of Syno Hydro organised a search party to look for the three workers who had drowned in the river but they were not found.
On June 6, 2008, the search party was able to retrieve the bodies of Evans and Aborigio, while that of Kofi, which was in a decomposed state, was found on Saturday, June 7, 2008.
When officials of the Bui Hydro Project were contacted, they confirmed the incident and added that adequate measures had been put in place to ensure that such unfortunate incident did not occur at the project site again.
Among the measures is that every worker should leave the project site after the close of work, while a ban has been placed on hunting and fishing in and around the river.
Meanwhile the owner of the boat has been arrested by the police to assist in investigations, while the bodies of the victims have been deposited at the Sunyani Regional Hospital mortuary for autopsy.