Hundreds of people gather in Apam to mourn 13 children who drowned in the sea in the town. The teenagers had gone to the beach to swim, but bad weather caused 20 of them to drown. So far, 13 dead bodies have been retrieved, with only two survivors. The 13th body, which was retrieved last Friday, was buried on the same day, after some traditional rituals.
The deceased have been identified as Isaac Effisah,16; Ebenezer Forson,15; Kingbert Addison,14; Gilbert Essadoh, 15; Sarah Mensah, 15; Prince Peprah, 13; Benjamin Narh, 15, and Christopher Ewusi, 15.
The rest are Kwesi Saarah Paintsil, 17; Eric Kwaku Arthur and John Arthur, both 14, and Joshua Hammond, 17.
The body of a female teenager, who has been identified as Faustina Moro, is still in the morgue because her family members have not shown up yet. The entrance of the hospital was turned into a carnival, as the mourners recited dirges and sang songs in their bid to pay their last respects to the teenagers. The atmosphere became heavy with sadness as the coffins bearing the remains of the victims were brought out one after another. Many people who could no longer hold back their emotions broke into uncontrollable tears. The entire town came to a standstill, as many residents abandoned their economic activities to mourn the departed children. Many schoolchildren in public and private basic schools abandoned school to mourn with their mates. There was a government delegation to the burial ceremony. Rev. Fr Derek Felix Kwesi Acquah, the Chaplain of the St Luke Catholic Hospital, urged the bereaved families to remain strong in these difficult times of dealing with the loss of their beloved family members.
Mr Gyan-Mensah expressed the hope that the tragedy would bring both the families and the people of the town together. He particularly thanked President Akufo-Addo, former President John Mahama and other individuals who came to offer support to the community. The Queenmother of Apam, Nana Assel Botwe III, chided sections of the media that twisted facts about the incident. Central Regional Minister, Mrs Assan, expressed worry that teenagers who are the nation’s future had had to lose their lives through a tragic incident. She called for counselling for the survivors to calm them down and enable them to come to terms with the situation.
The Regional Coordinating Council, in conjunction with assemblies along the coastal belt, would train guards in all coastal communities who would help protect beaches and prevent such tragedies from occurring, she said.
She advised the youth to learn useful lessons from the incident and desist from acts that had the tendency to end in tragedy.