At least 17 people were killed and dozens more injured when a vehicle carrying mining explosives blew up after colliding with a motorcycle, according to local officials.
“We have sent 57 casualities to nearby health centres,” Prosper Baah, acting regional head of the National Ambulance Service, said. “It is a very sad situation”.
He said that many more were hurt when they tried to get to the scene of the accident but were caught up in the blast.
The village of Apiate, which has a population of about 500, has reportedly suffered massive damage.
Images circulated by local media showed black smoke rising from destroyed buildings and scattered debris. Wood, rubble and metal roof sheets are strewn across the scene in a video of the explosion’s aftermath that has been circulating on social media.
A huge hole appears to have been left in the earth by the explosion.
The road crash happened on Thursday in the village, which is near the mining town of Bogoso. The vehicle was carrying explosives to the Chirano gold mine in the western region, the district’s municipal chief executive Isaac Dsamani said.
He added: “We have a lot of people on the ground who were able to get the situation under control.
“According to an eyewitness, the truck was moving and it was crossed by a motorbike. It hit the motorbike and the bike lit on fire. The driver got down and was telling people to run away.
“Some people were trying to find out what was really happening, then about ten minutes later the vehicle exploded.”
Aaron Awusu, a resident of Apiate, said that the drivers of both the truck and the motorcycle fled and tried to warn others to do the same, but some people were filming it on their phones and did not move.
Ghanian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described the explosion as “a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident”. He offered his “deep condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
“It’s almost like a ghost town now”, Sedzi Sadzi Amedonu, a senior official from Ghana’s disaster management agency told AFP.
He said some 500 houses had been affected by the explosion, and some were completely destroyed.
Police have called on nearby towns to “open up their classrooms, schools etc, to accommodate surviving victims.”
Adding: “We continue to urge the public to remain calm as we manage the situation”.
A minister of state, speaking outside a hospital in Appiatse, told local media: “We want to thank the nurses and doctors in this hospital. They’ve done a fantastic job in saving lives and their early intervention yesterday has helped a lot.
“Government is going to be responsible fully for all the victims medical bills.”
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