A 33-year-old farmer from Porpornya-Fantem near Asesewa in the Eastern Region has drowned in the Porpor River when the canoe in which he and his farmhand were sailing capsized.
A police source told GhanaWeb that the deceased, Emmanuel Offei Wilson, together with his farmhand, Gabriel Hlanngne, 25 were crossing the river from one side of the lake where the farm of the deceased was located to the other when the accident occurred.
According to information gathered by this portal, the deceased who could not swim, perished while his farmhand managed to swim himself to safety to call for help.
Unfortunately, help came too late as Emmanuel had already died by the time rescue efforts reached him.
The body of the deceased has since been deposited at the mortuary of the Asesewa Government Hospital for preservation and autopsy while Police investigations continue into the incident.
The absence of alternative sources of transportation means farmers who farm across the river are compelled to resort to the use of canoes to ferry themselves and their farm produce to the other side before onward transportation by road to the market centers.
Detailing the circumstances that resulted in the unfortunate incident, Honourable Ahelegbey Freeman, Assembly-man for Apimsu-Fantem Electoral Area within the Upper Manya Krobo District told GhanaWeb that water began to leak into the canoe transporting the two while they sailed across the river.
According to him, the two were caught between continuing their journey to the other side and returning to the starting point. They however opted for the latter due to the shorter distance but the deceased who was paddling the canoe in an attempt to make a u-turn ended up capsizing the canoe.
“He was doing some seed transfer from one farm to the other and before you get to the other farm, he has to cross the river…so after doing some watering on the other side, he asked one of his boys to go and load the canoe with the watermelon seedlings and while crossing unfortunately for them, he’s not that conversant with the paddling of the canoe.
“While crossing they realized that water was leaking into the canoe and they didn’t have anything to scoop out the water and looking at the distance ahead and distance behind, they thought that coming back was the best possible thing to do and because he wasn’t very conversant with the paddling, in turning the canoe, it capsized,” narrated the Assemblyman.
According to him, the deceased jumped into the water, resulting in his death while Gabriel who could swim, managed to swim safely back.
Some fisherfolks subsequently organized a search for Emmanuel and managed to locate and pulled him out with the help of a fishing net.
Police personnel from the Asesewa District Police Command conveyed the body to the Asesewa Govt Hospital for preservation and autopsy.
According to Hon Ahelegbey Freeman, the incident was not the first of its kind in the community as farmers preferred crossing the Porpor river which is a shorter alternative to reach their farms instead of the long walk around the water body.