Ghana blast: Many feared dead after huge explosion near Bogoso
At least 17 people have been killed in a huge explosion near a mining town in south-western Ghana, officials say.
Police say a truck carrying explosives to a gold mine collided with a motorcycle near the town of Bogoso.
Images shared by local media showed a large plume of black smoke rising above flattened buildings and scattered debris as residents call for help.
Graphic videos showed mutilated bodies of victims. A large crater can also be seen beside a road.
“It’s almost like a ghost town now,” Sedzi Sadzi Amedonu, a senior official from the country’s disaster management agency, told the AFP news agency.
He said about 500 houses were affected – some of which were completely destroyed – in Appiatse between Bogoso and the village of Bawdie.
At least 59 people were injured, some of whom were in a critical condition, Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said.
There are fears that the number of confirmed deaths may rise as emergency teams comb through the remains of the houses.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said the military had joined emergency efforts to help “contain the situation”, and “rapid relief” was being sent to residents.
“It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident,” he tweeted.
Rescue efforts were under way and people have been told to move out of the area.
Police called on nearby towns to “open up their classrooms, churches etc to accommodate surviving victims”.
“We continue to urge the public to remain calm as we manage the situation.”
A team of police and army explosion experts were deployed to “avoid a second explosion” and secure the scene, the government said.
The truck was carrying explosives to the Chirano gold mine about 140km (90 miles) from the scene of the blast, when it was hit by a motorcycle, police say.
This reportedly caused a fire, leading to the explosion.
The truck driver and the police escort onboard are reported to have survived, while the motorcycle rider was killed.
The tragedy has raised questions about safety measures when explosives are transported on Ghana’s busy roads.
Gold is one of Ghana’s main exports. BBC News