My ears still hurt - Welkom resident describes blast

2015-03-23 08:24
Smoke billows into the air after the explosion. (Welkom City via Facebook)

Smoke billows into the air after the explosion. (Welkom City via Facebook)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Welkom - Residents of Welkom have described how a methane explosion on Saturday sounded like a bomb attack and damaged about 200 homes and several other buildings.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

The hand of God was over Welkom at the time, residents told Netwerk24's Marti Will, as miraculously nobody was seriously injured.

The explosion took place at about 17:30 on Saturday when contractors bulldozed rubble into a disused ventilation shaft at the President Brand mine as part of a rehabilitation ­programme for the mine.

Shockwave

A spark created by the falling ­debris ignited methane gas in the shaft and the resulting explosion ­and shockwave was felt in neighbouring towns such as Virginia, Sasolburg and Parys. A traffic officer reported feeling the shock some 50km away near Kroonstad.

Residents said they saw heavy concrete manhole covers shoot high into the air.

Others described how roof tiles were dislodged, ceilings fell down, glass doors and windows shattered, and outside walls collapsed.

One Welkom resident described how she froze when she heard the explosion, and could immediately feel the shockwave. Her ears hurt for a long time afterwards, she said.

The explosion happened on the 25th anniversary of the destructive tornado that left two people dead, 98 injured, and more than 800 families without a roof.


(Emile Hendricks, Netwerk24)

Investigation

The Matjhabeng ­Municipality set up a disaster management ­centre near the three suburbs that were most ­affected by the falling ­debris from the explosion. Harmony Gold started offering trauma counselling to the shocked residents.

Harmony Gold spokesperson Bobo Ndinisa said one of the contractors at the site was only slightly injured. A full investigation into the cause of the explosion has already begun.

Welkom residents can report damage to 057-9048414/5/6 or e-mail corporate@harmony.co.za.

Read more on:    harmony gold  |  bloemfontein

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
12 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.