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20.12.2002 General News

Sixteen perish in accident

By Graphic
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Sixteen people died on the spot when a Mercedes Benz bus and a petrol tanker collided and caught fire near Assin Dwaso in the Assin District of the Central Region yesterday.

Fifteen of the victims were burnt in the process.

The bodies of the deceased, yet to be identified, have been deposited at the Cape Coast District Hospital.

Kofi Kuma, the tanker driver, 44, his mate Issa Nuhu and six others are being treated at the St X'avier Hospital at Assin Fosu.

The six are Peter Obeng Teiku, 27, Francis Ohemeng, 20, Beatrice Kyei, 20, Benjamin Buckman, 20, Iyeshetu Amidu, 40 and Samuel Affum.The two vehicles were burnt to ashes together with the luggage of the passengers.

According to Kuma, the accident occurred around 6.50 a.m. in the morning. He said he was travelling from Assin Fosu towards Dunkwa while the driver of the Benz bus was coming from the opposite direction. Kuma said he realised that the Benz bus had overtaken a cargo truck and had taken over his lane. He said he therefore decided to use the pedestrian passageway to enable the Benz bus to overtake the cargo truck.

He said sensing danger, the Benz driver also decided to use the pedestrian passageway. Kuma said both of them could not avoid the collision. He said immediately after the collision, the tanker started leaking but he managed to escape unhurt, adding that “seconds afterwards he heard an explosion and both vehicles caught fire.”

People near the accident scene rushed to rescue the victims but they said the intense nature of the fire made it difficult to rescue the victims until fire personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) came to their aid. They said the tenders were not enough and they had to make distress calls to Cape Coast for support before they could put out the fire at around 9.30 a.m.

The Assin Divisional Commander of Police, Mr Yao Dei, said the police are investigating the cause of the accident.

He appealed to motorists to take utmost care on the roads during the Christmas holidays.

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