A routine swimming expedition turned tragic for two girls when they got drowned in an abandoned gold pit located in the outskirts of Denkyira Dominase in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region.
Their bodies were discovered on Friday, February 19, raising concerns about the increasing spate of illegal mining activities in the community.
Local divers had pulled the body of Akua Boahemaa 14 when officers from the Dominase Police Commend visited the scene. She was confirmed dead at the scene.
Hours after she was taken to the morgue, opinion leaders were notified of another partially decomposed body had been recovered at the same spot. The body was later identified as 10-year-old Baaba Mensah.
Assemblyman for the area Benjamin Mensah later confirmed the incident to dailymailgh.com in a telephone interview.
“Yesterday [Friday] around 7:30 am a friend of mine called me that they have seen a person fallen in the pit near the town so I drew the attention of residents in the town…So after the announcement I went to the scene and I saw a girl of about fourteen years lying dead in the water and so we reported the case to the police at Dominase and they and took her out of the water and sent to the morgue at Dominase.
Later on about 10:30 am the same morning then we learnt again that there was another dead body in the pit. So we together with the policemen went there again. That was the body of a 10-year-old girl bringing the death toll to two”, the Assemblyman narrated.
Bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the Dominase Hospital morgue.
Police in the area are yet to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the death of the two girls though locals say they may have slipped and fell in the pit while returning home.
Their parents and guardians, according to the police would be invited to assist police in their investigations.
Gold pits turning into tombs
The tragic incident has left residents in a state of shock. They want authorities to intensify their operations to curb the illegal mining menace as gold pits continue to turn into tombs.
“About 10 years now, unlicensed small scale miners who do their work with the Chinese fail to reclaim the land but if you report the case to the police they wouldn’t respond. So they have left many pits around the area and gone back,” the Assemblyman said.
“Fortunately these mining firms got their licenses from EPA and Minerals Commission but it’s sad that their activities in these mining sites are unchecked”, he posited.
In Ghana, thousands of illegal gold mines are threatening farmland, destroying the landscape and poisoning water supplies, leaving some communities struggling to find drinking water.
The mining has reached such proportions that treatment plants are being shut down, and there are warnings the country might be forced to import water.