Onlookers head towards burning vehicle at Appiatse

A victim of the Apeatse explosion that claimed several lives has dismissed reports that the truck driver transporting explosives to the Chirano Mines informed people at the scene that his vehicle contained mining explosives.

A journalist with Tarkwa-based Dynamite FM, Thomas Tetteh, told Joy FM the driver of the vehicle carrying the explosives made attempts to prevent curious residents from getting closer to the scene, but his attempts proved futile.

“The driver, knowing the implications of their actions warned them to desist from the act and move away from the scene, however, his caution fell on deaf ears as the residents did not listen to him. The driver then left the scene,” he said on Friday’s Super Morning Show.

But speaking to JoyNews, the resident, Kwesi Agyemang, alleged that the driver whose identity is currently unknown failed to tell residents who had come to help douse the fire, his vehicle contained mining explosives.

He insists the said driver is to blame for the many casualties recorded on Thursday.

According to him, for close to 30 minutes, residents were at the scene at the peril of their lives unknowingly. He said the concerned citizens could not have known the vehicle contained explosives as the truck was engulfed with thick smoke.

“We ran to the scene and the vehicle was ablaze. The fire was intense so we couldn’t get close to the vehicle. All those who lived around came out. We couldn’t tell exactly what vehicle it was and what it contained. There was smoke all around.

If someone said the driver told us the car contained explosives, it is a lie. The driver got down from the vehicle and left. He didn’t tell us there were explosives so we could run. We were there for more than 30 minutes. We were there wondering when the Fire Service would arrive because there was traffic congestion.”

Mr Agyemang believes many lives could have been saved if the driver had informed onlookers before fleeing.

“If he had told even those who were very close to the vehicle, they would have been the first to run. That’s why all those close died and not those quite afar.”

According to a Police situational report, the blast happened when a DAF truck with registration number WR 2252-18 transporting explosives from the MAXAM Company in Tarkwa to Chirano Gold Mines, collided with a motorcycle.

The driver sustained a deep cut on the head and was rushed to Government Hospital, Tarkwa.

Reports reaching JoyNews reveal that 13 people have perished while 59 others are receiving treatment after sustaining severe injuries. The government earlier put the death toll at 17.

Those who trooped to the accident scene to take videos and pictures were severely affected.

Deputy Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Sedzi Sadzi Amedonu has revealed that over 500 houses have been affected by fire and debris.

Meanwhile, displaced residents have been relocated to a temporary site at the Bogoso St. Michael Parish Hall.

This comes after the government directed NADMO to immediately provide relief items to the residents.

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