At least 17 people have been confirmed dead after Thursday afternoon’s huge explosion at Apiatse in the Bogoso area of the Western Region.
A statement issued by the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said at least 59 people were injured, some of whom were in a critical condition.
A vehicle carrying mining explosives which was traveling from Tarkwa to Chirano collided with a motorcycle at Appiatse near Bogoso.
Images from the accident scene showed a large plume of black smoke rising above destroyed buildings and scattered debris as residents called for help.
Graphic videos showed mutilated bodies of victims. A large crater can also be seen beside a road.
The Ghana Police Service and other emergency service providers have activated a full emergency recovery exercise after the huge explosion on Thursday afternoon (January 20, 2022).
Videos emerging from the scene of the accident show dismembered bodies scattered on the road.
Many buildings have also collapsed in the area trapping some people.
The explosion reportedly went very far causing extensive damage in the area.
Police situational report
A police situational report said the accident happened at about 1:25pm.
A policeman, D/Cpl Isaac Kamanim of Firearms Unit/Tarkwa was escorting explosives from MAXAM Company, Tarkwa, in a DAF van with registration number WR 2252-18 driven by Alfred Pappoe to Chirano Gold Mines in the Western North Region.
At a section of the road between Bogoso and Bawdie, a motor cycle rider from the opposite direction ran under the van carrying the explosives.
The motor cycle caught fire, ignited the van which burst into flames and exploded.
The driver sustained deep cut on the head and was rushed to the Tarkwa Government Hospital.
The Police escort escaped unhurt.
The motor bike rider is feared dead.
An extensive damage was caused to a nearby ECG transformer.
Also a number of nearby buildings were razed down, that portion of the road was damaged, some vehicles plying that road were damaged, passengers and inhabitants sustained varying degrees of injuries.
The main road linking Tarkwa and Ayamfuri has been blocked momentarily with no vehicle crossing from each side, Graphic Online's Western Regional correspondent, Kobla Dotsey Aklorbortu reports.
Some vehicles have been torn into pieces, Aklorbortu said.
About 100 vehicles had their windscreen shattered.
What caused the accident?
The driver of the transporting vehicle, upon reaching the area, collided with a motorcycle.
After stepping out, the driver saw fire in the vehicle and rushed to alert people in the community to run to safety.
The fire escalated and the explosives in the vehicle detonated killing many and causing extensive damage.
According to our reporter, many people have also sustained severe injuries.
Ministry of Information statement
The Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the government received the tragic news of an explosion at Appiatse, along the Bogoso- Bawdie road in the Western Region, that led to the destruction of some parts of the town, and resulted in injuries and the death of some residents.
Preliminary reports indicate that there was an accident involving a truck conveying explosive material for a mining company, a motorcycle, and a third vehicle close to an electricity transformer, leading to the explosion.
Upon the instructions of the President of the Republic, a National Emergency Response Mechanism was activated immediately. Personnel from the Police Service, Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana Health Service, National Ambulance Service, the Municipal Authority, and residents have all been involved in providing support.
Additional personnel and resources have been dispatched to the community to support the response effort.
An alternative route has been created to facilitate the movement of stranded vehicles plying that route.
All hospitals within the vicinity are being used to treat injured persons, and an evacuation plan has been activated to move those in critical condition to medical facilities in Accra so they can get the needed assistance.
To forestall a secondary explosion, a joint team of police and military explosion experts has been deployed to examine the situation and put in place the requisite measures.
As at 17:00 hours, a total of seventeen (17) people have, sadly, been confirmed dead, and fifty-nine (59) injured persons had been rescued, bringing to seventy-six (76) the number of persons known, so far, to have been affected by the tragedy.
Out of the fifty-nine (59) injured persons, forty-two (42) are receiving treatment and some in critical condition.
Early reports indicate that several houses and structures in sections of the town have been destroyed and plans have been put in place to ensure that stranded community members are catered for in the coming days.
We would want to urge the public to remain calm and obtain regular updates from the national emergency response team.
At 11:00am tomorrow [Friday] the emergency response team will provide updates from the scene of the incident.
Government commends the Police Service, Fire Service, National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Ghana Health Service, National Ambulance Service, the Municipal Authority, health professionals in the medical facilities within the vicinity, and local residents for their assistance so far.
Government further expresses deep condolences to the families of the deceased and sends best wishes to the injured for their speedy recovery.
As relief and containment efforts continue, and the situation is brought under considerable control, President Akufo-Addo will visit Appiatse to assess the effectiveness of the response effort.
President Akufo-Addo's reaction
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo commenting on the accident said "I have just received a briefing on the circumstances that led to an explosion in Apiate near Bogoso, in the Western Region, resulting in the loss of lives and the destruction of properties belonging to residents."
"It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident, and I extend, on behalf of Government, deep condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery."
"The Police, Armed Forces and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) are co-ordinating efforts to contain the situation, and I have also instructed NADMO to see to it that rapid relief is brought to residents of the town.
"Government will spare no effort to ensure a rapid return to a situation of normalcy for residents of Apiate."