Boy dies from quarry blast

A nine-month-old baby boy lost his life last Monday when he was hit by a stone from a blast at a stone quarry site at Joma, near Ablekuma in Accra.

Two other persons, including the baby’s mother, were also hit by stones from the blast while they were close to their houses, about 500 metres away from the quarry site of Regimanuel Concrete Products Limited.

The baby, identified as Naphthaline Mensah, the younger of a set of twins, was being carried by his mother, Gladys Nyarko, 31, when the incident occurred about 6 p.m.

Ms Nyarko had to be carried home by some Good Samaritans, as she could not walk.

A man identified as Razak Sumaila, 21, a commercial motorcycle (okada) rider in the area, was also injured in the ribs.

Baby’s father speaks

The baby’s father, Mr Raphael Kwame Mensah, 35, a mason, told the Daily Graphic that he was returning from a friend’s house when he saw people running for cover from some ‘flying’ stones.

He said before he got home he saw a group of people gathered close to his house, adding, “Before l could find out what was going on, one of our neighbours told me my son and my wife had been hit by stones from the blast.”

According to Mr Mensah, he heard his wife screaming and when he got closer he saw the baby covered with blood and lying prostrate, as he had been hit in the back.

In the case of Mr Sumaila, he said he was returning home after work when he saw the stones in the air.

He said he tried avoiding them but one hit him in the right rib and he sustained a cut.

No warning from company

Some residents who spoke to the Daily Graphic said unlike the usual practice of sounding an alarm three times before the blast at the quarry site, the siren was heard only once last Monday.

“The alarm is sounded at 7 a.m. to signify that work has begun and at 5 p.m. to show that work has ended. When I heard the alarm once before 6 p.m., I thought it was the usual closing time for the workers and so I was not expecting an explosion, only to see stones flying in the air,” Emmanuel Achidama, a 21-year-old mason, explained.

He said the blasts were usually done in the afternoons after the alarm had been sounded three times to give residents enough time to take cover.

“The last explosion was extraordinary. We have not experienced such an explosion before. The whole area shook and the pieces of rock were seen in the air all over,” he added.

Police Intervention

Shortly after the incident, some residents of Joma besieged the premises of Regimanuel Concrete Products Limited, threatening to close it down.

As a result, workers at the site were locked up for close to two hours until they were escorted out of the premises by the police.
A police team, however, managed to control the crowd and disperse them.

The baby’s body was taken to the Police Hospital in Accra, while Ms Nyarko and Sumaila were treated and discharged at the same facility.

Attempts made to speak to the management of Regimanuel Concrete Products proved futile.


Source: graphic.com.gh

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