The four-day rescue operation in the church building that collapsed at Akyem-Batabi in the Eastern Region has ended.
Thirty victims had been retrieved as of Friday, October 23, when the operation was brought to a close; 22 of them had died, while eight survived.
The deceased are made up of 12 women, nine men and a girl child.
Among those who were rescued by the team from the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Ghana National Fire Service and other securities agencies was an old woman who was part of the worshippers. She had gone to church to pray for their pastor who was indisposed and was trapped under the rubble.
In a viral video sighted by GhanaWeb, the woman was saved on Wednesday, October 21 by the rescue team first clearing the debris from the floor. Then a NADMO official who wore a red shirt and a pair of trousers was seen entering the hole that was created within the debris by lying in a supine position and pulling out the woman who was trapped under the rubble.
Officials from the Ghana Ambulance Service then quickly brought a stretcher and placed her on it. Next, she was placed on oxygen before she was carried into the ambulance and then to a hospital.
On the last day of the rescue operation, The Ghana Air Force provided sniffer dogs during the early hours of Friday to check for possible bodies covered under the debris.
The team searched thoroughly for the last victim-a woman-who was reported missing but who unfortunately has not been found under the rubble as of the time of filing this story.
Hence the church leaders have been asked to notify NADMO, whenever they smell a stench from the disaster scene.
Eric Nana Agyeman Prempeh, Director-General of NADMO, when decommissioning the rescue team commended the rescue team made up of 210 personnel from various security agencies, and the operators of the four excavators, seven haulage tipper trucks and two payloaders, for working tirelessly.
He charged organizations responsible for regulating the construction of buildings to intensify their monitoring regimes to enable them proactively avert the recurrence of such incidents.
The collapse of the uncompleted three-storey church building occurred Tuesday at about 2:30 pm.
Prophet Akoa Isaac who is the keener of the church has told the police in his caution statement after his arrest that he was sick and lying in his residence on the same compound of the Church when he heard the sound of the collapsing church building.
He added that he was told that about 56 worshippers were in and around the building fasting and praying when the incident happened.
When the police proceeded to the scene, 35 of the worshippers were seen traumatized, while a 60-year-old woman identified as Afia Tamakloe, was lying dead. The rest were trapped under the rubble.
A joint rescue team made up of officials of the National Disaster Management Organization, NADMO, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Police Service, Ghana Ambulance Service, the BNI, National Security, and the Ghana Armed Forces, rescued 13 victims a few hours after the incident.
Out of the 13, six-all-female-were dead; and one was in a critical condition.
The remaining six victims who were not in very serious danger namely Adu Godfred, 21; Erasmus Larner, 25; Elizabeth Toot,18; Bridget Birorey, 59; Jonas Larner, 45; and Charity Addison, 38, have been treated and discharged from the Oda Government Hospital.
One of the survivors gave this account: “We were resting in the church building after fasting and prayers so whilst resting, we heard portions of the building coming down. We were over 60 in the building [and] we started running away. Some of the people managed to escape but others were trapped.
Some residents say construction of the church building started in 1996 hence they suspect that its structural integrity continued to weaken through years of inactivity.