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Dozens feared dead after mining truck explodes in Ghana

Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Dozens of people are feared dead after a mining truck exploded in a town in Ghana on Thursday.

Abdul Ganiyu Mohammed, regional coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organization, said initial reports indicated at least 50 people died and another 50 had been injured in the blast in the small town of Apiate, near the mining town of Bogoso, in southwestern Ghana.

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The exact death toll was not immediately known.

The Ghana Police Service said in a statement that a "mining explosive vehicle" was moving between gold mines in Tarkwa and Chirano when it collided with a motorcycle resulting in the explosion.

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Police said "most of the victims have been rescued" and admitted to hospitals.

"The public has been advised to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are underway," police said.

Aaron Awusu, a resident of Apiate, told The New York Times that the truck ran over the motorcycle as it crossed its path and then caught fire, prompting both drivers to flee and warn others to leave the area.

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Some onlookers did not move and began filming the scene and in some cases moved closer to the flaming truck before the explosion.

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"All of the sudden, the car exploded, destroying the whole Apiate village, killing almost everyone close to the car," he said. "The road and the car also were completely destroyed."

President Nana Akufo-Addo offered condolences to the victims, describing the explosion as a "truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident."

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He added that emergency staff were trying to contain the incident and provide "rapid relief" to the residents as the government would "spare no effort to ensure a rapid return to a situation of normalcy for residents of Apiate."

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