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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Scores dead after gas leak at Angelo informal settlement in Boksburg

Emergency service personnel said the cause of the leak is unknown but investigations are currently underway.

At least 16 people including women and children have died from poisoning at an informal settlement in Boksburg after a gas cylinder containing nitrate oxide leaked.

It is believed the incident happened at the Angelo squatter camp in Boksburg late Wednesday evening.

It was initially reported that 24 people had died from the toxic gas leak, but police revised the death toll to 16.

The cause of the toxic gas leak is unknown and is being investigated

Ekurhuleni Emergency Services (EMS) spokesperson William Ntladi told The Citizen they received a call just after 8pm about what was initially thought to be a gas explosion, but later established that it was in fact a gas leakage from a cylinder in one of the yards in the informal settlement.

Ntladi said that scores of residents including women and children from the Angelo informal settlement have been killed.

“I can confirm there was gas poisoning. A cylinder of nitrate oxide was found on the scene.

“Thus far we can confirm that about 24 bodies have been identified and [are] lying around at the Angelo informal settlement here in Boksburg.

“However, our emergency services teams inside are still searching through the informal settlement and through the shacks to identify if there are other patients [who] can be positively identified, [so] the number might rise,” Ntladi said.

Cause of leak

Ntladi said the cause of the leak is currently unknown but the nitrate oxide cylinder may be related to illegal mining activity in the area.

“It is unknown and still under investigation, but preliminary information is that this was related to illegal mining activity”.

It is alleged that the gas leak was a result of gas cylinders that was stolen from a nearby warehouse by suspected illegal miners.

Ekurhuleni emergency services said nitrate oxide is used by illegal miners to extrapolate gold out of the soil.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi and the Excutive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Sivuyile Ngodwana arrived on scene and were briefed by officials about the catastrophe.

“Together with the executive mayor, we are currently at the Boksburg gas leak scene. Our disaster teams are hard at work,” Lesufi said.

Boksburg explosion

The gas leak comes six months after the Christmas Eve gas tanker explosion in Boksburg.

A fuel tanker exploded after it became wedged beneath a bridge approximately 100 metres from the Tambo Memorial Hospital.

The incident claimed 41 lives and scores of injuries.

On Saturday night, the Boksburg community of Plantation held an intimate night vigil in commemoration of the Christmas Eve gas tanker explosion.

Members of the public alleged that metro police, who should have been helping the fire department evacuate the area before the explosion, arrived two hours after the blast.

This is a developing story.

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