20 dead, mostly students, after trees fall in Ghana's Kintampo waterfalls

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 20, 2017 at 7:58 AM
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March 20 (UPI) -- Officials in Ghana said 20 people, mostly high school students, died after trees fell on them while they were swimming at the popular Kintampo waterfalls during a storm in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

Ghana national fire service spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said a storm caused trees to fall in the "unusual incident" on Sunday. Eighteen people died at the scene. Two others died in a hospital while 11 others are receiving treatment, including one of the school administrators in charge of the trip.

"They were swimming in the river when there was a storm, a windy atmosphere that had uprooted some of the trees and they had fallen on some of them -- those who were apparently swimming," Anaglate said.

An eyewitness told Ghana Starr News most victims were from the Wenchi Senior High School while others were tourists traveling to the Kintampo waterfalls -- one of the highest in Ghana.

"A huge tree fell at the top when the rains began and crashed the revelers," the witness said after the incident. "We are trying to save those who are trapped by cutting the trees with chainsaws."

Desmond Owusu Boampong, the commander and the chief superintendent of the Kintampo Divisional Police Commander, confirmed the death toll to Ghana Starr News.

Ghanaian officials have offered their support to victims following the incident.

"We extend our condolences to the families of the dead and pray for the injured," Ghana's Tourism Minister Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement.

"I have learnt with great sadness, the unfortunate incident that occurred at Kintampo Waterfalls yesterday," Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a statement. "My deepest condolences to the families of all those affected by this unfortunate and tragic incident."

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