At least 17 people were killed and 59 injured by an explosion that devastated part of a town in western Ghana after a truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle, the government said.
“A total of 17 people have unfortunately been confirmed dead, and 59 injured people have been rescued,” Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement released overnight.
A truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle in western Ghana Thursday, causing an immense explosion and a huge “loss of lives”, the Ghanaian president said.
The accident happened around noon in Apiate, near the city of Bogoso some 300 kilometres (180 miles) west of the mineral-rich West African country’s capital Accra.
Saying the blast caused “the loss of lives and the destruction of properties”, Nana Akufo-Addo added in a tweet: “It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident.”
Local police released a statement saying that a “preliminary investigation has established that a mining vehicle carrying explosives… collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion”.
“Most of the victims have been rescued” and taken to various area hospitals, the statement said.
Dr Joseph Darko, working at Apiate hospital, told AFP that five of the casualties had been taken there, “including a five-year-old child who is in a life-threatening condition”.
Police asked surrounding villages to open their schools and churches to accommodate any additional casualties.
Reinforcements have been deployed to the scene and people near the blast have been asked to move to nearby villages, the police added, while appealing for calm.
Ghana has suffered a series of gas explosions in recent years caused by leaking fuel.
In 2017, at least three people were killed and dozens injured after a tanker truck carrying natural gas caught fire in Accra, triggering explosions at two fuel stations and killing three people.
Ghana’s capital was the scene of a similar fire and explosion in June 2015 when more than 150 people died as they sought shelter from seasonal rains and flooding at a petrol station. The blaze was believed to have spread by fuel on the floodwater.
The incidents sparked outrage among some Ghanaians on social media about the safety of filling stations, many of which are located near schools, hospitals and businesses.