Death toll rises after Boksburg gas leak


The death toll due to a gas leak at the Angelo informal settlement in Boksburg on the East Rand rose to 17 on Thursday morning.

According to Zweli Dlamini, spokesperson for the Ekurhuleni metro, one of the injured succumbed to their injuries and 11 people are currently being treated in hospital, including a one-month-old baby.

According to preliminary investigations, the gas leak was caused by illegal mining activities. “We hope further investigations will give us answers about what really happened.”

The Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi visited the settlement on Thursday morning and Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, the Gauteng MEC for Health, visited the Tambo Hospital where the injured were admitted.

“The illegal mining activities are out of control and it is extremely frustrating. We lack specialized ways to train our law enforcement agencies to curb these activities,” says Lesufi.

Rise Mzansi expressed its condolences to the deceased’s loved ones.

“Several government representatives have visited the community to assess the situation and RISE Mzansi calls on the government to ensure that counseling services are provided to families and community members. The deceased must also be given a dignified burial,” says Tebogo Moalusi, spokesperson for Rise Mzansi.

“Experts have warned for years about the effects of illegal mining and the criminality that comes with it. After this incident, government departments must now especially focus on the issue of illegal mining and how to stop it once and for all. If nothing is done, the deaths of these innocent people will be in vain. Families are broken and children’s short lives are taken away.”

RNews earlier reported that the fire and emergency service received a call about a possible gas explosion at around 20:00, but upon their arrival they discovered it was a cylinder from which a poisonous gas was leaking.

According to William Ntladi, spokesperson for Ekurhuleni’s emergency service, there was suspected to be nitric oxide in the cylinder and it is being used for illegal mining activity in and around the settlement.

When the emergency services arrived on the scene, many people were found unconscious after inhaling the gas and the death toll was initially indicated as 24, but some of the people could be brought back to life.