WATCH: Taxi driver tells how cars flew around him when explosion hit Joburg CBD

Residents in the Johannesburg CBD said despite being scared that another explosion will happen, they are unable to leave.

At least two helicopters are seen over the sky and a heavy police presence has cordoned the scene of the explosion on Lillian Ngoyi Street (formerly Bree Street), Johannesburg.

A strong stench of gas can also be smelled as one approaches the scene of the explosion on Thursday.

Joburg CBD gas explosion

A man was also seen trying to salvage what he could from his BMW 1 Series, while a group of men were attempting to remove a taxi from the scene of the explosion.

Some businesses have decided to close their doors while others have chosen to open as usual.

ALSO READ: No lights and ‘the high smell of gas’ morning after the Joburg CBD explosion

Minibus taxis can also be seen ferrying people on Lillian Ngoyi Street. Most people in the area have continued with their daily lives.

‘I don’t know how I survived’

Teacher Labane, who still had bloodied hands 15 hours after the explosion, was seen trying to rescue his taxi.

Explaining the events of Wednesday, Lebane said there was a sudden loud bang and then he started seeing cars lifting into the air around him.

“There was not even a sign that something was about to happen. There was just a sudden loud bang, then I saw a huge blue flame-like lighting,” he said.

“I couldn’t see much but I jumped because I saw cars flying to the sky. My taxi survived because there was another car near it. I don’t even know how I survived.”

He said after the explosion, they tried to rescue a person who was buried under a taxi, however the person had already died.

City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi confirmed on Thursday morning that a man was found trapped under the rubble of a taxi where the explosion happened.

“In the early hours of this morning, we managed to recover the body of a male person on site where the explosion occurred yesterday,” Mulaudzi said.

RELATED: Joburg CBD Explosion: One dead, 48 injured after blast

‘Ticking time bomb’

Said Aidorik, a street vendor who sells socks nearby, said their lives were in God’s hands because of the deteriorating infrastructure in Johannesburg.

“We live in s**t my guy, there are holes all over this street and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Cars get stuck in the holes every time and the guys who stay on the streets have seen a business opportunity,” he said.

“They just wait for cars to get stuck, then they rescue them at a fee. I know at least five holes here just around the Bree taxi rank where this happens all the time.”

“It looks like we are sitting on a ticking time bomb. We are just waiting for it to happen again but we can’t move from here because this is where we make a living. This explosion will happen again if they do not do something about these big holes that are left open.”

Residents living in fear

A few residents who stood at a door of one of the buildings near the scene of the explosion said despite them being scared something might happen again, they could not leave the area because they had nowhere else to go.

“The thing is no one has come and told us we should vacate the building. Even if they do come, they should tell us where we must go because this is where we stay,” said one resident.

“We are scared but what other options do we have? We can’t just go and stay in the streets. We have children as well and we are just praying that nothing happens.”

Patrollers deployed

Gauteng police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, said they have deployed more patrollers to tighten security around the area.

“We are happy that communities are co-operating and staying away from that area because we don’t know what can happen,” Mawela said.

He also dismissed claims that there was a missing toddler. He, however, called on families whose loved ones use the taxi rank where the explosion happened to contact the nearest police station if a loved one has not been home since the explosion.

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