Many people are feared to have died following a huge explosion near Bogoso, a mining town in western Ghana, which devastated the surrounding village.
At least 17 people were killed and dozens more injured when a vehicle carrying mining explosives exploded after colliding with a motorbike, local officials said.
“We sent 57 injured people to nearby health centers,” said Prosper Baah, acting regional chief of the National Ambulance Service. “It’s a very sad situation.”
He said many others were injured when they tried to get to the scene of the crash, but were caught in the blast.
The village of Apiate, which has around 500 inhabitants, is said to have suffered significant damage.
Footage released by local media showed black smoke rising from destroyed buildings and strewn debris. Wooden, rubble and metal roof sheets are strewn across the scene in a video of the aftermath of the explosion that has circulated on social media.
A huge hole appears to have been left in the earth by the explosion.
The road accident happened Thursday in the village, which is near the mining town of Bogoso. The vehicle was transporting explosives to the Chirano gold mine in the western region, said district municipality chief executive Isaac Dsamani.
He added: “We have a lot of people on the ground who have managed to get the situation under control.
“According to an eyewitness, the truck was driving and it was crossed by a motorcycle. He hit the motorcycle and the bike caught fire. The driver got out and told people to run away.
“Some people were trying to find out what was really going on, then about ten minutes later the vehicle exploded.”
Aaron Awusu, a resident of Apiate, said the truck and motorbike drivers ran away and tried to warn others to do the same, but some people filmed it on their phones and did not not moved.
Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described the explosion as “a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident”. He offered his “sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery”.
“It’s almost like a ghost town now,” said Sedzi Sadzi Amedonu, a senior official with Ghana’s disaster management agency. AFP.
He said some 500 homes were hit by the blast and some were completely destroyed.
Police called on nearby towns to “open their classrooms, schools, etc., to accommodate the 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 at this hospital. They did a fantastic job saving lives and their early intervention yesterday helped a lot.
“The government will be fully responsible for all victims’ medical bills.”
The Independent Gt