JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s authorities announced on Sunday that the death toll from Christmas tanker explosion near Johannesburg has risen from 10 to 15.
The tanker contained 60,000 litres of LPG gas and got stuck under a bridge in the residential area of Boksburg.
“I went upstairs to have my cup of tea and I saw immense flames, I thought a house was on fire. I phoned the fire brigade immediately and they responded, they said “no ma’am its fine, we are sending somebody, its ok, help is on its way.” And after that I just received one bit of bad news after the other. There are two children here across the road, 16, the girl and 25 the boy who came and did my lawn every weekend for me, they’ve charred, they’re gone, they’ve died”, lamented local resident, Jean Marie Booysen.
Another local resident, William, added “I think I was 50 meters away from the scene and when the third one exploded, I was about 400 meters away, of which like, where we are standing here, most of us we did burn behind our backs. Because even some of the stones from the rail (railway line, Ed.) you can see them on the floor here”.
A spokesperson for the local emergency services said the truck was trapped under a bridge early on Saturday.
“As of yesterday, the report we had was that 10 people had succumbed to this fire, but the update we are getting today is that this number has risen to 15,” Phaahla told reporters as he visited the accident scene.
A tanker transporting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exploded Saturday after it got stuck under a low-level bridge near a hospital in the suburb of Boksburg east of Johannesburg, affecting several buildings there.
“It was a massive explosion that could be felt some five kilometers away,” Simon Zwane, a spokesman for the Road Traffic Management Corporation told local broadcaster NewZroom Afrika.
According to Phaahla, three of the deceased were employees of the hospital.
The South African government has extended its condolences to the families of those killed and wished the injured a speedy recovery.