At least 17 people were feared dead and over 50 injured after a vehicle carrying explosives used in mining collided with a motorcycle, causing a huge explosion in Apiate, a small town in western Ghana, on Thursday.

Kwadwo Bempah, an eyewitness, told CNN that nearly every building near the blast site had collapsed and several people and animals were trapped under rubble.

The dead were “all around,” he said.

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A number of people have been rescued and admitted to various hospitals and clinics, however, there was no information on their condition.

“The police and other emergency service providers have activated a full emergency recovery exercise,” a police statement said.

“We urge all to remain calm as we manage this unfortunate situation. The police have taken charge of the situation providing security to enable the emergency workers including the Ghana National Fire Service, NADMO and the Ambulance Service to manage the situation. The public has been advised to move out of the area to nearby towns for their safety while recovery efforts are underway,” another statement said. 

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Meanwhile, a video from the scene circulating on social media showed homes reduced to pieces of wood, with a massive crater in the earth nearby.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said the explosion had resulted “in the loss of lives,” without giving further details. 

“It is a truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident, and I extend, on behalf of Government, deep condolences to the families of the deceased, and I wish the injured a speedy recovery,” Akufo-Addo tweeted.

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Apiate is a small and residential town, with a population of around 10,000 people, most of who are farmers and miners.

With inputs from The Associated Press