20 Dead After Freak Accident at Waterfall

The victims were mostly high school students
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2017 9:16 AM CDT

It's one of Ghana's top tourist draws, and on Sunday, the scene of a freak tragedy. Some 20 high school students were killed at the Kintampo waterfalls when a tree or trees (media reports differ on the number) fell at the top of the falls and toppled on them below, an official tells the AFP. "They were swimming in the river when there was a storm, a windy atmosphere that had uprooted some of the trees," says a national fire service spokesman. "A huge tree fell at the top when the rains began and crashed the revelers," a witness tells Starr FM. Rescue teams worked with chainsaws to clear those who were trapped. The spokesman says 18 died at the scene and two died later at the hospital; another official tells the BBC that 22 were injured, though media reports differ on that number, too.

Most of the victims attended the Wenchi Methodist Secondary School and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, per the AP. President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted, "My deepest condolences to the families of all those affected by this unfortunate and tragic incident." Ghana tourism minister Catherine Abelema Afeku issued a statement, per the AFP, extending her sympathies to the families and prayers for those injured. The Kintampo waterfalls, one of the country's highest with a drop of 82 feet, is located on the Pumpum river about 250 miles from the capital, Accra. (Strong winds blew a truck off a bridge in Virginia, killing the driver.)

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