Contrary to what the police and other government officials have maintained as what led to last Thursday’s massive explosion at Bogoso-Appiate, a gold mining community in Western Region, a different account has emerged.
The rider of the motorcycle said to be involved in the explosion after colliding with the explosive-carrying truck as reported, has denied the claims telling the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he was rather hit by another vehicle from behind, and rushed to a nearby health facility before the explosion occurred.
Many have questioned the impact of the collision between the truck and said motorbike, and this denial means there is more to the explosion than Ghanaians have been told, especially by the Police Public Affairs and the National Fire Service.
“I didn’t collide with the said truck, neither was I at the scene during the explosion,” the rider (name withheld) said.
The contradictions also suggest Maxam Explosives, one of the largest explosives manufacturers in the world, which was delivering its products to a mining site, might have been reckless in the course of transporting the explosives to the buyers.
The denial also suggests that the people who actually witnessed events leading to the explosion, might have died.
Its further suggest that police escort mentioned as part of those transporting the explosives doesn’t exist.
The Director General of Police Public Affairs, ACP Kwesi Ofori, on Friday told media men that the driver, as well as the rider of the motorbike that collided with his truck, are alive and well.
The driver of the truck was lauded by police for the efforts he put into evacuating school children prior to the blast.
“The driver, knowing what he was carrying, was of help to the community. He quickly rushed to the school and informed the teachers of the danger that was to come,” ACP Kwesi Ofori, had said.
But the rider insists he was receiving treatment at the health facility when he was informed that a truck had exploded.
“I don’t know where that story is coming from because I was not at the scene. I did not see any truck around me when the accident occurred. I was in the tricycle with one woman and the two of us were carried to the health facility.
The people that conveyed us to the hospital later informed me that it was a sprinter bus that hit my tricycle and that the driver ran away after the accident,” he insisted.
Preliminary investigations by the Police indicated that a mining explosive vehicle moving from Tarkwa to the Chirano Gold Mines collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion at Apiate, a farming community between Bogoso and Bawdie in the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality in the Western Region.
A team of investigators from the Criminal Investigative Department of the Ghana Police Service on today, Sunday, January 23, 2022, interrogated the truck driver and the rider of the motorcycle believed to be involved in the accident.
The team interrogated the two persons at the disaster site as part of measures to unravel the cause of the explosion. The driver of the truck looked distraught with a part of his face bandaged.
The motor rider had his elbow and knee bandaged with bruises on his hand and chin.
The truck driver declined to engage the media after the interrogation, saying: “I have been instructed not to speak.” The CID team said the interrogation would help them to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident and the subsequent explosion.
Meanwhile, one more person has been confirmed dead in the explosion that occurred at Appiate in the Western Region last Thursday.
The deceased (name withheld), a male, died at the Tarkwa Municipal Hospital in the Western Region Friday afternoon, health officials at the Hospital told the GNA.
The deceased sustained “severe injury” from the blast and was admitted at the Hospital on Thursday, January 20, 2022.
Mr. Asher Chris, a Physician Assistant at the Tarkwa Municipal Hospital, said the Hospital had made arrangements to airlift the victim to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for further treatment but he died ahead of schedule.
“Two of the victims had severe injuries so we decided to refer them to a higher facility like Korle Bu. “…The one who has died had a bad situation so we had arranged to airlift him to Accra but unfortunately, he died yesterday [Friday] ,” he said.
More than 60 victims, who sustained varying degrees of injury from the disaster, were admitted at the Tarkwa Municipal Hospital on Thursday.
As of 1800 Saturday, January 22, 2022, about ten persons had been discharged from the Hospital with others “responding to treatment.”
“Some of the injured had open fractures so we are preparing them to see an orthopaedic surgeon,” Mr Chris said.
At the Apinto Government Hospital in Tarkwa, one out of five injured persons admitted at the facility on Thursday, had been discharged Saturday evening.
The patients included a pregnant woman and a four-year-old boy.
The pregnant woman had a metal stuck in her left thigh and successfully underwent surgery on Friday, health officials at the Hospital said.
The four-year old boy sustained “minor cuts” on his face and other parts of his body.
Some 17 people have been killed in the disaster with 179 others injured. The Minerals Commission on Saturday shut down Maxam Ghana Limited, owners of the explosive truck, to pave way for investigations into the accident.
The Government has assured that it would provide temporary houses for the hundreds that have been displaced among other support services.