South African health officials have raised the death toll of the Christmas Eve fuel tanker explosion near Johannesburg to at least 27, which also left dozens of others injured.
Footage of a tanker explosion in Boksburg this morning is being circulated. Paramedics say there are several deaths, while others are critically injured.
— Dasen Thathiah (@DasenThathiah) December 24, 2022
Authorities say that the fuel tanker crashed under a bridge due to lack of clearance and caught on fire in the city of Boksburg, which sits just east of Johannesburg. Crowds of onlookers soon gathered around the scene as firefighters attempted to put out the fire.The truck then exploded, which engulfed the area in a massive fireball.
The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed two other vehicles and two homes, as well as heavily damaging several nearby buildings, such as the Tambo Memorial Hospital, where 10 workers were killed. Footage of the aftermath shows several victims with severe burns fleeing the area after the explosion.
WARNING: Graphic VIDEO. Eight people confirmed dead following the gas tanker explosion in Boksburg, East of Johannesburg.
Multiple injuries also reported.
We pass our condolences to the families of the deceased, while wishing a speedy recovery to the injured. pic.twitter.com/KS8GP4wwMe
— Mxolisi Ncube (@NcubeMxolisi) December 24, 2022
Innovative Staffing Solutions, the company that owns the truck, told the Times Live that height restrictions for the bridge were not visible and that the driver attempted to warn those nearby to get away from the area after the crash, even physically pushing people away. The company also said the driver passed out due to gas fumes and was transported to Tambo Memorial Hospital for treatment before the blast occurred. The driver was arrested and charged with culpable murder (similar to negligent homicide), but the case was soon dropped due to lack of evidence.