Friday, 27 May 2022

Ghana explosion kills 13 after motorbike crashes into truck full of explosives

A devastating explosion in Ghana left a 66ft crater in the road, killing 13 victims and injuring a further 180 people, of whom four are in critical condition.

Footage shows horror-struck residents looking into the crater, left by a blast triggered when a motorbike crashed into a truck full of explosives heading towards a gold mine on Thursday (January 20).

Burning wood and ripped sheet metal marks where 500 houses used to stand in Apiate, a rural town about 200 km (130 miles) west of the capital Accra.

Doors and roofs were blown off other buildings from the force of the blast and rescue workers were left combing the site while excavators dug through the larger piles of dirt and debris.

"We've seen damage to lives and property here that is just indescribable," said Daniel Adu-Gyamfi, a student who came to volunteer with the response team.

"Yesterday… you could see human remains all over the place."

Police said the explosion happened after the motorcycle crashed into the truck, then caught fire, and a government statement suggested a roadside power transformer could have played a role.

The truck was owned by a company called Maxam that was transporting explosives to the Chirano gold mine, run by Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corporation, police said.

Kinross said it planned to provide support to the response efforts and relief items to those affected. Maxam could not be reached for comment.

If not for the actions of the truck driver, the death toll could have been much worse.

There was a pause between the collision and the explosion, and the driver used the precious time to tell the community they were in danger, said police spokesperson Kwesi Ofori.

A nearby school was successfully evacuated after teachers were among the first to be informed of the impending disaster.

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