| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

Johannesburg tanker explosion death toll rises to 15, driver charged

Authorities said that the number of fatalities from the Saturday gas tanker explosion in Johannesburg had nearly doubled to fifteen, and that they had detained the driver and charged him with culpable murder.

The explosion happened on Christmas Eve when the car caught fire while passing under a low bridge. It tore off the emergency room’s roof at the Tambo Memorial hospital, wrecked two homes, several vehicles, and injured onlookers.

“In terms of fatalities … this number has now risen to 15,” including three hospital staff members, Health Minister Joe Phaahla said late on Sunday.

Phaahla suggested that the death toll might later rise because of the nature of the injuries some survivors had sustained in the explosion in the Boksburg suburb of the city.

“We are told that of those who survived, many of them have quite severe burns, so we still have a long way to go,” he said.

A spokesman for the South African police service for Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, said the police had traced and arrested the driver in a hospital where he was being treated late on Sunday.

“The 32-year-old suspect has been charged with multiple counts of culpable homicide, negligent causing of an explosion resulting in death,” the police statement said.

  • Reuters