Workplace accident: man killed by exploding drum

2008-06-05 00:00

A 64-YEAR-OLD man died after he was seriously injured by a drum that exploded while he was cutting it open with an acetylene torch at his workplace, Nottingham Road Gas Supplies, yesterday afternoon.

Michael John Underwood died shortly after arriving at St Anne’s Hospital, where he had been airlifted in an SAPS helicopter. A Netcare 911 paramedic who attended to him said he suffered serious head, facial, spinal and chest injuries.

Suzette Droualt, the business’s bookkeeper, said staff were shocked by the news and were being consoled by the business owners, whom she named as Mr and Mrs Smallwood. “No one saw what happened because between where he was working and other staff members there was a big truck. People just heard a bomb-like blast. He was cutting open an empty drum.”

Paramedics suspected that the drum contained a traces of a flammable substance. Droualt said Underwood was employed five years ago, and had become Mr Smallwood’s right hand man.

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