Boksburg explosion death toll rises to 27
Yet another healthcare worker from Tambo Memorial Hospital succumbed to their injuries.
Damage at the scene of a massive explosion that took place in Boksburg, 24 December 2022. Photo: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
The death toll of the gas tanker explosion in Boksburg on Christmas Eve on Thursday morning has reportedly risen to 27.
Gauteng health department communications head Motalatale Modiba said the latest death was a healthcare worker from Tambo Memorial Hospital, bringing the total number of hospital staff deaths to 10.
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“This means that of the 13 staff members who were injured frm the blast, only three are still alive, and the three are still in a critical state in hospital,” Modiba said.
“It has been a very difficult week. The impact of this disaster has been felt far and wide, and has been most devastating to affected failites, including those at the frontline of providing healthcare services.”
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said on Wednesday the death toll was at 26.
Two people are also still missing.
Lesufi has been visiting the families of those affected in the tragedy.
Truck driver freed
The 32-year-old driver of the truck appeared briefly in court on Wednesday after being taken into custody earlier in the week.
An official from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said there was no case against the driver, as provincial police said there was not enough evidence against him.
There had apparently been a unilateral decision to release him.
Family struggling to cope
Patricia Jansen van Vuuren, the aunt of Jamel Eales, 16, Sebastian, 14, Adrian, 12, and Gerrie Brits, 10, told Boksburg Advertiser the children’s mother, Rosetta Brits, is devastated at the loss of her four children.
Jamel’s boyfriend, Ian de Lange, also died in the explosion.
Jansen van Vuuren explained the children were returning home from visiting De Lange’s employer, who lives close by.
“They had noticed the truck stuck under the bridge on their way home and decided to see what was happening and take photos. That’s when the explosion happened,” she said.
She said Jamel, Ian and Gerrie died instantly.
“Sebastian was airlifted to Charlotte Maxeke and died 30 minutes after arrival, and Adrian was taken to Far East Hospital and died at 19:15 that night.”
The family only discovered the children were involved in the explosion when they themselves went to the scene after hearing the explosion.
“We are struggling to accept the reality that we will no longer see the children. They were so energetic, loving and happy,” an emotional Jansen van Vuuren said.
The explosion occurred after a truck transporting LP Gas belonging to Infinity Gas got stuck under the railway bridge close to the OR Tambo Memorial Hospital.
As the truck went under the bridge, the tops of the gas lids were shaved off the truck, which started a fire and set off two explosions.