A 55-year-old 'trotro' driver, James Kojo, popularly called Raphael, died in a freaky accident when a public toilet in which he and five others were attending nature's call collapsed last Saturday morning at High Tension, a suburb of Kasoa in the Central Region.
The 28-seater toilet facility for both male and female located close to the traffic light along the Kasoa-Bawjiase road caved in when patrons were using it.
Only an excavator succeeded in retrieving the remains of the driver from the debris of the collapsed walls after a failed attempt by a neighbourhood rescue team to do so earlier.
Human excreta from the pit were dug out to facilitate the rescue of the victims.
Four survivors of the accident, Fredrick Nelson, 30, Fati Jibrilla, 35, Benjamin Y. Attado, 22, and Mathew Yaw Appiah, 33, were admitted at the Kasoa Health Centre and the Winneba Hospital following their rescue by the neighbourhood rescue team but discharged a few hours afterwards.
The identity of the fifth person could not be ascertained at the time of filing this report.
Kweku Agyei, the son and driver's mate of the deceased, broke down in tears as he narrated what happened on that fateful Saturday morning. According to him, when they reached the vicinity of the public toilet, they both decided to go and use the facility.
After parking the Mercedes Benz bus 207, he said his father took the lead into the place of convenience as he stayed behind to undertake a task the deceased had assigned him under the vehicle.
Upon accomplishing the task, Kweku Agyei said he too decided to go and attend nature's call but on reaching the place, he discovered people who were about to enter and others around the place running away from the facility as the walls were collapsing. Instinctively, the boy started calling his father's name but there was no response, he narrated.
People from the neighbourhood, he continued, rushed to rescue the five persons but not his father. The rescuers, he said, were unable to save his father whom they concluded did not survive the accident and true to their fears, when an excavator came to excavate the debris, the remains of his 55-year-old father were found, lifeless.
The distraught-looking owner and caretaker of the toilet, Samuel Doku Tekute (aka Awokyeh) was unable to tell how many persons were in the toilet when the accident happened, but insisted though that more than 10 people had used the facility before the incident.
The caretaker admitted that the structure of the facility was weak and that he had been advised to do something about it.
He said he had put up a modern place of convenience, a WC system, nearby, to replace the collapsed one by Xmas until the fatal accident took place last Saturday.
The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) Co-ordinator for the newly created Awutu Senya East Municipality, Charles E.A. Koomson, in his reaction, announced that all such dilapidated toilets would soon be demolished as he advised those interested in putting up such facilities to seek approval from the Town and Country Planning Department.
The Municipal Chief Executive of the area, who is also the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate, Dr. Nuhu Adams, announced that the assembly had formulated a policy to serve as a guide to developers of private and public places of convenience in the municipality.
The principal feature of the design, according to him, was that it separated the toilets from the cesspit.
The methane gas associated with fecal matter in cesspits is known to damage public toilets, resulting in rare but fatal collapse of such places of convenience.
Adnan A. Mohammed