Passengers Reject Life Jackets

Despite the provision of life jackets by Zoomlion for travellers to use when crossing the Oti River at Dambai in the Krachi East District of the Volta Region, commuters have refused to wear the life jackets, endangering their lives in the process. In 2013, Zoomlion presented 700 life jackets to the Krachi East District Assembly to be distributed to boat operators in the district, for onward distribution to passengers who patronise their boats. The move was to curb the high numbers of lives lost during boat disasters. Two months ago, nine people got drowned when a boat carrying about 30 passengers capsized on the Volta Lake at Tokuroanu in the district. Surprisingly, people who cross the Oti River have totally refused to wear life jackets. The Finder�s recent visit to Dambai revealed the danger the passengers are putting their lives into by refusing to use the life jackets. In an interview with one of the boat operators, who only gave his name as Original, he said that the passengers say they feel uncomfortable when they wear the life jackets. It was also observed that some of the hooks that helps one to lock the life jacket were spoilt, which endangers the lives of users. In this regard, when one wears it, it only hangs on the body, and in case of any eventuality, the person would not be saved. Krachi East District Chief Executive (DCE), Peter Awuranyi told The Finder that the assembly was intensifying education on the need for them to use the life jackets. �The Navy Commander is always at the bank with his men and anyone who does not wear the life jacket is not allowed to board the boat. �Some of the passengers complain that the boat operators do not keep the life jacket clean. We are also looking for opportunities to get more life jackets,� Mr Awuranyi noted.