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By Citizen Reporter


Boksburg explosion: Family who lost four children struggling to accept reality

The children were taking photos of the tanker when they were killed in the blast.

A family who lost four children in the devastating Boksburg tanker blast on Christmas Eve are struggling to make sense of the tragedy.

Four children killed

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.

Boksburg explosion: Family who lost four children struggling to accept reality
From left to right: Jamel Eales, Adrian Brits, Sebastian Brits and Gerrie Brits, four of the 18 people who perished in the Boksburg explosion on Christmas Eve. Photos: Supplied

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.

18 people died in the blasts, and scores were injured.

ALSO READ: PICS: Despair lingers in Boksburg, as more fatalities expected

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Struggling to accept reality

The family who lost four children lives in Plantation, and Adrian, Gerrie and Sebastian attended Laerskool Goudrand.

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.

“We are still arranging for their burials. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the oganisations that helped us, including the political parties.”

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Good news’ regarding Boksburg tanker explosion damage to OR Tambo Memorial hospital

Driver due in court

The 32-year-old driver involved in the explosion is due to appear in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

He has been charged with multiple counts of culpable homicide, negligent causing of an explosion resulting in death, and malicious damage to property.

The driver was arrested on the night of the incident at a private hospital, where he was receiving treatment for minor injuries.

The company that employs the driver, Innovative Staffing Solutions (ISS), said it had launched an “internal and independent investigation” into the circumstances leading to the incident.

ISS said the driver was “highly experienced”, with a professional driving qualification in working at heights, and seven years’ experience in transporting hazardous materials.

Poor signage might be one of the reasons the driver tried to go under the low-lying bridge.

A Google Street View picture of the structure revealed a faded, near invisible warning signage on the traffic facing the side of the bridge.

NOW READ: Boksburg explosion: Company launches investigation after its ‘experienced’ driver was in truck

Anyone who wishes to donate to the family can do so through the Actonville CPF, or contact councillor Imtiaz Lunat on 082 560 8293.

Edited and compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde.

Parts of this article first appeared on Caxton publication Boksburg Advertiser’s website, by Raymond Mokwena. Read the original article here.

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