This article focuses on the unwritten stories in the minds of many Apam, Accra-Cape Coast highway roadside dwellers of the central region of Ghana.
The screeching tyres caught everyone’s attention. The driver had activated all his emergency safety skills. Passengers in the then brand new 2014 registered Sprinter bus are gravely alarmed!
The driver sees the distance. He sees the mistake too. He knows that for his car to stop at the speed he is traveling, it will take only a miracle that it wouldn’t hit the truck. That truck had wrongly overtaken the Yutong bus on this curve!
When the picture became clearer for all the passengers, the screams of “Jesus!! Jesus!!!” filled the atmosphere on that Apam stretch of the Accra-Cape Coast Highway, both from onlookers and from the passengers.
In this sprinter bus, which its fate was about 40 seconds away from being determined, are 2 students of the same parents, traveling from school to spend the holidays in Accra.
One is 18 years and the other is 20. In the front seat with the driver is a 36-year-old father of two, who is responding to an interview request for employment at Osu from Takoradi. He’s been unemployed for nearly three years.
Beside him is another man, 42 years of age returning from his wife and children after the routine 2 weeks regular weekend visit to them in Takoradi.
He would have to be at work tomorrow at his workplace around Paloma in Accra. He is in a seat belt with his Samsung phone in hand. On the first seat is the mate with his infant dreadlocks, typical of a Ga teenager.
The rests are mainly traders of different origins. Of particular interest is one woman with 6 weeks old baby. She was sitting by the window on the third seat on the left side of the bus.
She was going to her mother after going through a cesarean section during delivery last November. So this bus was carrying the dreams of homes!
But, the abrupt G-Force from the brakes forced many of the passengers at the back seats towards the seats in fronts.
In about 40 seconds, a large cloud of dust was announcing the tragedy. The screams of the name of God’s first son, Jesus, was over!
Everything was quiet! Precious living souls were silent! Eyewitnesses are dumbfounded but their instinct is dragging them to the scene.
From where I was standing, it was as if I was watching a scene from a blockbuster movie! As we got close, the magnitude of the tragedy was evident!
The driver, from the look of things, in his late 30s, had both hands on the mangled steering wheel, with his head facing downwards. Blood droppings from his nostrils were like a pipe with finished drops of water.
911! 911! 911!!, we started calling! It was my first time witnessing an accident of this magnitude. No matter how hard I tried, my screams were pressed down in my lungs, and so no one could hear my cries. I wept whilst going closer!
So this is how I was going to witness the end to lives, hopes, dreams, and the beginning of shock, misery, and hardships of young ones and the end of people who carried the homes on their shoulders?
Whilst others were forcing the door to open, some were breaking the rear windshields to assist those responding to safety!
Humans have been boxed together and pressed like bails of rags!
The natural instinct to carefully assist the injured kicked in. Human after human. It soon became obvious.
Out of the 18, 12 were motionless, including the driver, the two men in front, three mothers, a toddler, and some other adults.
It was a day I will never forget!
But whilst we were helping the victims, something caught my attention.
A gentleman you wouldn’t suspect takes turns to put his hands in the pockets of the unconscious victims and takes their belongings.
He pockets everything: from monies to phones etc. To cover his tracks, he intermittently draws the attention of others to a victim he has spotted, then moves ahead to the other side of the mangled minibus.
I was surprised. Accident scene thievery? I said to myself!
In about 15 minutes, an ambulance from Winneba’s side of the road arrived.
Folks, what was about unfolding was something that was going to change my life forever!
End of Part I