The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has closed down the Canopy WalkWay in Aboretum at Bunso, in the East Akim Municipality of the Eastern Region.
The acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr. Samson Donkor closed down the facility yesterday following the collapse of one of the bridges of the walkway injuring about 21 people, mostly school children on Republic Day.
Mr. Donkor a visit to the scene observed that there were security lapses, there was no certification from the appropriate quarters to ensure the safety of users of the facility.
He said the Authority had the responsibility for the safety and security of the people who patronize the facility, stressing “The walkway has now become public and known to the international community and we cannot wait for people to die before we act”.
Narrating the incident to the GTA officials, who visited the area, Mr. Akuffo Asare Kennedy, the official manning the facility, said the incident happened on Republic Day holiday at about 5:30pm when those managing the facility, including the security, had closed and left the place.
He said the participants who came on that day to have a feel of the walkway were about 3,000 but most of them were turned away because it was getting dark.
Mr. Asare said the youth took advantage of the absence of the security personnel and broke the gate and found their way to the second bridge.
He said because they were many and were dancing and jubilating because of a life band music at the place, the canopy could not support them and a branch of one of the supporting trees broke and fell on the walkway.
Mr. Asare said the walkway accommodates between 8 and 10 people at a time, depending on the age and weight of them, so there was no way the facility could collapse and described the incident as purely accidental.
“I also do regular maintenance on the facility” he added.
The Eastern Regional Co-ordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ransford Kwakye said 16 of the injured persons are currently on admission at the Tafo Government Hospital, whiles three were sent to the Hawa Memorial Hospital, all in the Eastern Region.
One victim was in critical condition at the intensive care unit of the Koforidua Government Hospital.
From Samuel Opare Lartey, Bunso