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28.11.2008 Tragedy

National tragedy21 BURNT TO DEATH…while siphoning petrol from fuel tanker

By Micael Boateng, Tanoso - Ghanaian Chronicle

Another tragic accident has struck the Techiman Municipality, as twenty-five persons lost their lives, with fifty others sustaining serious degrees of burns in an attempt to siphon petrol from a fuel tanker, which had an accident near Tanoso in the Techiman Municipality yesterday.

The tragic incident occurred at about 7.00 a.m., when the tanker, in an attempt to negotiate a curve, veered off the road and fell into a ditch.

Residents of Tanoso, and surrounding villages, rushed to the accident spot with buckets, pans, and other containers, when news broke that fuel was spilling from the tanker.

An eyewitness, who spoke to The Chronicle, said when the tanker went into the ditch, he saw smoke coming from the vehicle and warned those who were siphoning the fuel to flee, but they did not heed his advice.

He continued that he started running away from the scene, but before he could go far, he heard an explosion. According to him, the fire that followed the explosion, consumed those who were siphoning the fuel.

Pathetically the flames engulfed a military officer, who alighted from his vehicle in an attempt to assist in rescuing some of the victims, but medical reports indicate that he did not die and was responding to treatment.

Due to the range of the spread of the fire, Ghana Fire Service and the police personnel thoroughly combed the bushes, in search of persons who might have possibly perished in their attempt to escape the inferno.

When The Chronicle visited the accident scene, 40 badly wounded victims were being conveyed to the Holy Family Hospital at Techiman while 28 others were also conveyed to the Sunyani, Nkoranza and Kumasi hospitals respectively. It was wailing all over the place as relatives of the victims from Tanoso and Afrancho, thronged the Techiman Holy Family Hospital in search of their relatives who were caught in the fire.

A medical officer at the Techiman Holy Family Hospital indicated that over 20 persons sustained third degree burns, with the implication that their probability of surviving within 24 hours was very slim.

Information reaching the paper, as at press time, indicated that the dead had been buried at the site of the tragic accident, while the military officer had been flown to Accra for urgent medical attention.