At least 50 people were feared dead in an explosion in Ghana on Thursday, after a mining truck reportedly carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle, setting off a blast that reduced structures to rubble and left a gaping crater in the earth.
The exact death toll from the accident in the small town of Apiate, in southwestern Ghana, is not yet known. Ghana’s police service said investigations were underway and appealed to residents of nearby towns to open their churches and classrooms to the wounded.
The vehicle had been moving between the gold mines of Tarkwa and Chirano, the police said in a statement, adding that most of the victims had been hospitalized in the nearby town of Bogoso.
Wood, rubble and metal roof sheets littered the scene in videos and pictures taken shortly after the explosion, which appeared to have leveled much of the town. People who had heard the blast but were not hurt stood at the edge of a yawning hole left in the earth by the explosion.
Initial reports said that at least 50 people had died and another 50 were injured, Abdul Ganiyu Mohammed, the regional coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization, told a Ghanaian radio station.
The Ghana Police Service, in a statement, described the truck as “a mining explosive vehicle.” Mr. Mohammed said it was carrying dynamite.
Mr. Mohammed said the driver of the truck was not among the dead and had not been charged.
Emergency services staff closed off the area to the public and were searching for victims in the rubble.
“Some of the people are buried,” said Mathew Ayeh, a resident of Apiate. “There are people beneath the debris.”