By Papisdaff Abdullah
A head-on collision involving two buses in Kintampo on Friday also left over 40 passengers injured in the new Bono East region.
The buses were each carrying about 50 passengers at the time of the crash. Emergency services were at the scene, including firefighters who helped put out fire which engulfed one of the vehicles.
Speaking at the annual end-of-year get-together of the West Africa Security Service Association (WASSA) of the Ghana Police Service Mr Akufo-Addo said: “My sympathies and condolences go to all the families and loved ones of the deceased. May the Almighty grant their souls peaceful rest”.
The cause of the crashes is still to be established but rumours are that the driver of one of the vehicles lost control after falling asleep.
“Fifty-five were brought in dead and out of that number 35 were burnt beyond recognition. Forty people were brought in alive, but one died. Four people have been referred – two had severe head injuries and other two sustained multiple fractures on the rib,” Dr. Prince Kwabena Tabi of the Kintampo South Medical Hospital told journalists.
Rose Anane, who was on one of the buses, said: “I was fast asleep then I heard a loud bang. We managed to break the glass and it was just a few of us – about 10 – who managed to move out.
“In a matter of seconds, the vehicle went on fire, with the others still trapped in the car. We watched as the fire consumed them. It was late into the night.”
The crash has renewed calls for Ghanaian authorities to enforce traffic rules to reduce deaths on the country’s poorly maintained roads.
Gifty Mintah, a resident, said: “We’ve been speaking to the local assembly to fix rumble strips on the road, but they said this is a highway so it’s not possible. For how long are we going to look on for people to keep dying?”
Rumble strips are positioned at the edges of roads and make noise when cars pass over them to alert drivers. Crashes are common on highways in Ghana because of poor maintenance, disregard for traffic regulations and unworthy vehicles on the road.
An average of six people die on the country’s roads every day, according to the Ghanaian police’s motor transport and traffic directorate.
In February 2016, 70 people were killed and 13 injured when two buses collided in Kintampo.
In July 2017, a bus carrying players and officials from one of Ghana’s leading football clubs, Asante Kotoko, crashed into the back of a stationary lorry.
Former president John Mahama also expressed concerns about deaths on Ghana’s road, calling on all stakeholders to find solution to it. He took to his social media page to say “I have received confirmation of two horrific accidents at Kintampo and Ekumfi Dunkwa, reported to have claimed many lives”.
“Another sad day for our dear country. Our roads are becoming killing fields and road safety continues to be a major challenge. All stakeholders on road safety- the licensing authority, drivers unions, Police, Road safety commission, and Government- must not relent in their efforts to make our roads safer” he continued.
Mr Mahama ended saying “my condolences and that of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) go to the families of the deceased persons. Our prayers are also with those injured and we beseech God to grant them a speedy recovery”.