Appiatse explosion: a mining truck driver sacked with a month’s salary, tells of his ordeal
The driver of the truck, which was transporting explosives that detonated in Appiatse near Bogoso, in the West region, on January 20, finally broke his silence.
Heartbroken driver Alfred Pappoe, who is still nursing his injuries, said he is now out of a job. He alleged that his boss at Arthanns Company in February handed him a dismissal letter with one month’s salary without regard to the trauma he suffered as a result of the accident.
Mr Pappoe, who earned GHC 1,100 a month, said his boss explained that the contract with the MAXAM company was lost after the accident, hence the need to fire him.
“At the end of February, my boss told me that the MAXAM company had terminated the contract with him, as such, he also had to terminate his contract with me,” Mr. Pappoe said.
He expressed disappointment that his boss could do this to him, given the sacrifice he made to save the community from the effects of the explosion, had it happened in the middle of town.
The disastrous accident at Appiatse involved a DAF vehicle registered WR 2252-18 transporting explosives from Tarkwa to Chirano Gold Mines and a motorcycle.
Police said the driver of the oncoming motorcycle collided with the vehicle.
According to Alfred Pappoe, he acted to save the inhabitants by leaving the city after sensing danger.
“When I almost arrived at Appiatse, the town was on a bend and by that time the police escort had already negotiated the bend. Later, I saw a motorcycle coming from the opposite direction and immediately a bus Urvan was right next to him trying to overtake a ‘Pragya’.
“The biker was still following the Urvan and just as the Urvan driver moved into another lane the biker lost control and two people fell off the engine. The bike was heading towards me as it was very close,” he said.
Speaker on Adom FM Kasiebo is tastyMr Papoe said at the time, it was so easy for him to avoid the engine by turning to his left, however, that would have meant running into the two people who fell from the engine, so he decided otherwise.
But before he could, he realized that the engine’s fuel tank had opened up and started leaking from under his truck. He started the fire which then made contact with the truck.
Mr Papoe said when the fire broke out he realized there was nothing he could do and so he decided to get out of town quickly before it exploded.
“When I realized there was nothing I could do, I decided to leave town quickly because I knew it was going to explode. That’s when some locals started approaching the truck and started shouting that the truck was on fire.
“I knew what I was doing and so I didn’t even pay attention to the residents. I just wanted to leave town and drive past a gas station, find a safer place and let the truck explode even though I felt the heat in the truck,” he added.
He said locals were still following the truck and did not move despite his continued caution as they wanted to take photos and videos of the incident.
Unfortunately, the explosives went off and killed some of them.