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General News of Friday, 23 December 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

'Irresponsible human error' caused gas explosion - Moses Asaga

A tragic gas explosion at a gas station in Accra was caused by the 'irresponsible human error' of the operators of the gas tanker, the National Petroleum Authority has found out.

The NPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Moses Asaga, explained two bolts which should have tightened the lid on the gas tanker were missing.

The pressure of the fully loaded gas tanker was forced out 'like a missile' causing the explosion, he said on Joy FM's Super Morning Show Friday.



The death toll from Thursday night's explosion at the Louis Gas Station behind the Trade Fair Centre at Labadi in Accra has risen to nine.

Some of the bodies were charred beyond recognition in a pre-Christmas tragedy. It has also left at least 10 in critical condition.



The entire skin of a toddler was removed by the severe burns as he walked about looking for his guardians.

The gas station was cordoned off, power supply in the neighbourhood cut as firefighters battled the flames for hours.



In the company of a safety officer and in an effort to obtain a first-hand understanding of the cause of the tragic events, Asaga said he found that the facilities in the gas station were top-notch.

"We noticed that the facility there had a very high level of integrity pipeline, dispensers and values were all intact," he said.



Satisfied that the fault could not have come from maintenance lapses, they turned their attention to the burnt gas tanker.



It was fully loaded with LPG from Tema and had parked since mid-morning to discharge gas into the tanks in the station.

"That particular tank was the one that the fault came from," he said. Explaining how gas tankers work, Moses Asaga said, "each of the gas tankers has a cork (lid) on it... and you have to bolt the lid just like we bolt the tyres to our cars so that the tyre does not spin off".

Unfortunately, two bolts were missing compromising the safety of the gas tanker. After a long wait since morning, the worst happened.

"The pressure built up and because the lid was not tight, the pressure was able to force the lid open.



"It came out like a missile... and that is why it spewed out 200 meters into the Labadi Trade Fair site and caused the fire", he reported.

"...it was purely a human error, an irresponsibility on the part of the one who was in charge of corking the lead of the tanker at the loading site "...it was an irresponsible human error..something that does not need any technology", he repeated.