The boy, Dennis Yaw Ayamba, and two others who were engaged in the challenge, dived from the top of the bridge over the Densu River, which links Suhum to the New Juabeng Municipality.
Witnesses say Ayamba who is a junior high school drop-out, failed to come out of the river after a third dive, raising suspicion he had been drowned. The incident happened at about 3:00pm Monday.
The prize money was said to have been contributed by the three young men. Eyewitnesses say the other two, who are yet to be identified, fled the scene when they realised their colleague had drowned.
His family was immediately alerted and a group of young men were contracted to search for his body after a libation was poured. The team was however unsuccessful after hours of search by local swimming experts.
Priest demands Akpeteshie, money for search rituals
On Tuesday morning, the family members reported the incident to the Densu priest and traditional authorities in the town who demanded GHC 900, a bottle of schnapps, a gallon of Akpeteshie [local gin], red chili pepper, and Ga kenkey.
An amount of GHC 500 is to be given to the traditional authorities while the remainder is to be given to the search party of local swimmers. According to our Eastern Regional Correspondent, Yvonne Neequaye, the family members say they do not have enough to readily pay all the money.
“They have thus paid GHC400 to the search party,” Yvonne reported, noting all the other items were provided.
“The pepper was grounded and smeared on the body of the search team before they went into the river, while the drinks were used for the performance of rituals,” Yvonne reported.
Our correspondent reported that after about an hour, the team, which carried out the exercise without any life-saving jackets and swam in the river, returned without any success.
Ayamba’s sister, Mariama Ayamba, told Yvonne that he was at home Monday when she got information that her brother had drowned at the river during a swimming challenge with two others.
She said the matter has been reported to the Police but they are yet to visit the scene of the incident. Checks by 3news.com indicated that the family members told the Police they will retrieve the body themselves.
The Dwatwahene of Akwadum, Nana Kwaku Sarpong, has meanwhile warned the young men to desist from diving into the river, especially during rainy season when the water level rises.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana