President J.A. Kufuor yesterday visited Tanoso and New Techiman in the Techiman Traditional Area to console the families of the 27 people who died in the petrol tanker explosion that occurred between the two towns on Wednesday.
The President was accompanied by the Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Ignatius Baffour Awuah, his deputy, Nana Abraham Kwadwo Kwakye, the Techiman Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Prince Yaw Donyina, and members of the Brong Ahafo Regional Security Council (RESEC).
The President and his entourage, on behalf of the government, presented one carton of Schnapps, two crates of assorted drinks and GH¢10,000 to the bereaved families to assist in organising the funeral rites of the deceased.
He also presented four bottles of Schnapps to the chiefs of Tanoso and New Techiman, Nana Kwaku Kwarteng and Nana Badu Kakyire, respectively, to use in purifying the accident spot, as well as to pray for the souls of their departed ones.
President Kufuor later called on the Omanhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Oseedeayo Akumfi Ameyaw IV, who is also the overlord of the two towns where the accident occurred, and presented a carton of schnapps and GH¢5,000 towards the funeral of those who lost their lives in the accident.
Addressing the chiefs and people of the two towns, who were clad in mourning cloths at their various palaces, he said the accident was a national disaster and, therefore, as the President of the nation, he had decided to come and sympathise with the people and the bereaved families.
He noted that the accident was horrific and a sad one, and urged the chiefs and people, as well as the bereaved families to accept his heart felt condolence and that of the government.
President Kufuor, however, urged Ghanaians, especially people from the rural areas, to desist from taking advantage of vehicles that get involved in accidents.
In his response, the Omanhene of Techiman, Nana Ameyaw, thanked President Kufuor for coming to empathise with the chiefs and people of the traditional area and the bereaved families.
The Techimanhene announced that the traditional council had set up a five-member committee to ascertain the actual number of people who lost their lives in the accident, as eyewitness accounts were not certain.
Ten out of the reported 27 deceased persons were from Tanoso, while the remaining 17 are from New Techiman. Twenty-two persons who died on the spot were buried in a mass grave on Wednesday.
As of press time, five more people were reported dead at the Regional Hospital in Sunyani and the Holy Family Hospital at Techiman, from burns they sustained, bringing the death toll to 27.
When the Daily Graphic visited the Regional Hospital earlier in the day, Dr C. Jones-Techie, the Clinical Co-ordinator at the Regional Hospital, said 17 out of the 68 injured persons were brought to the hospital.
He said two had passed away, six were in stable condition, while nine who were in critical condition had been airlifted to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.