About 120 people were feared drowned after a boat packed with passengers and goods capsized on Ghana’s Lake Volta, police in the West African country said on Monday.
“There were 150 passengers on board, but only 30 have been rescued. The rest are feared dead,” police spokesman Kwesi Ofori said.
He said the accident happened on Saturday and that a search party was still looking for survivors.
Ofori said the boat was probably overloaded. He said it hit a stump as it traveled across the lake, which covers 3,275 square miles, more than three times the size of Luxembourg.
He said the boat had been traveling from Dudzome, in the Afram Plains region, eastward to Abotoase.
The bodies of three young children had been recovered from the accident site.
Local media reported that the passengers were being moved after settling illegally in a forestry reserve in Dudzome and had been forced with their property and livestock onto a boat that should only carry 70 people.
The lake’s dam produces electricity for most of the nation.
Troubled water routes
Many of the vessels plying trade and passenger routes on lakes and off Africa’s shores are poorly maintained, with accurate passenger manifests a rarity.
An overloaded wooden boat carrying three times the number of passengers it was built for sank off Djibouti last week, killing at least 109 people in one of the Red Sea nation’s worst disasters.
At least 127 people drowned last month after a wooden boat traveling from Nigeria to Gabon broke up in high seas and sank off Cameroon’s Atlantic port of Kribi.
Survivors said more than twice the registered 150 passengers had been onboard.