Fatal explosion at Apiate: Community wiped out

BY: Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu

Tragedy hit Apiate, a farming community between Bogoso and Bawdie in the Prestea Huni-Valley municipality in the Western Region, yesterday following an explosion that reduced the entire settlement to ground zero.

A vehicle carrying a quantity of mining explosives to the Chirano Mines collided with a motorcycle, resulting in the detonating of the explosives, levelling the entire community.

A ravaging blaze, accompanied by a plume of smoke, spread from the point of the explosion, scattering hundreds of residential and commercial buildings in the community.

The number of casualties was not immediately known, but it was believed to be in the dozens as of press time, even as rescue and recovery activities continued.

President expresses condolence

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo took to his social media platforms to express his condolences to the bereaved families, while wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

“I have just received a briefing on the circumstances that led to an explosion at 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 the government, deep condolences to the families of the deceased and I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” he stated.

The President said the police, the Armed Forces and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) were co-ordinating efforts to contain the situation, adding that he had instructed NADMO to ensure that rapid relief was
sent to residents of the town.

“The government will spare no effort to ensure a rapid return to a situation of normalcy for residents of Apiate,” he said.

Health facilities overstretched

The Daily Graphic was told that a health centre in the area, as well as hospitals in Tarkwa and Bogoso, was inundated with victims of the blaze, and that doctors had called on people to donate blood to save lives.

Rescue teams from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), NADMO and the National Ambulance Service (NAS) had a tough time reaching difficult areas as a result of rubble from collapsed buildings that had strewn vast areas, as well as the raging fire.

Road blocked

The impact of the explosion resulted in deep cracks and trenches in the middle of the main road linking Tarkwa to Bogoso and Wassa Akropong, thereby restricting vehicular movement.

The explosion left a very deep and wide hole at the exact spot where it occurred, with a heap of sand on both sides which blocked vehicular movement.

Residents of Apiate who were on their farms returned to see their homes levelled.

Vehicle exploded

An eyewitness told the Daily Graphic that about 12 noon yesterday, the vehicle carrying the explosive was passing through the community on the highway.

A motorcycle crossed the vehicle, and in an attempt to avoid the motorcycle, the vehicle rather crashed into the speeding motorcycle, resulting in the vehicle catching fire.
Sensing danger, the driver of the vehicle jumped out of his seat and began to shout and ask people to evacuate the area.

Unfortunately, before his word could get to residents, the explosives detonated, causing extensive damage to lives and properties.

“We ran for our dear lives, and from a distance we saw plumes of smoke,” one resident who escaped unhurt told the Daily Graphic.

Another resident also said he had heard the explosion about eight kilometres away.