Search continues for survivors of party boat blaze

2016-11-19 17:40
The party boat in flames on the Hartbeespoort Dam. (Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit)

The party boat in flames on the Hartbeespoort Dam. (Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit)

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Johannesburg - Search and rescue teams are battling to find survivors after a party boat caught fire on the Hartbeespoort Dam on Saturday afternoon, Lieutenant Colonel Pelonomi Makau told News24. 

"Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit is still searching for survivors. There is a possibility that some people might have jumped overboard when it caught fire," she said. 

Makau said four people are known to have died in the incident. Three drowned and one died in the fire.

Community newspaper The Kormorant reported that the fourth person was trapped in a toilet and was burnt to death. 

According to paper, all four deceased were women.

A woman working at the Hartbeespoort Boating Club said she was shocked when she heard about the incident. 

They were at the club when their rescuers were called to help, she said. 

The woman said she did not know any of the people in the boat, but saw the flames from a distance. 

"We just saw flames and we had no idea it was this bad. We now see people being loaded into emergency vehicles. We are praying for everyone. This has never happened before. It's a shock," she told News24.

There were about 200 people onboard.

Private boats helped bring people to shore.

Police said the cause of fire is still unknown. 

Watch The Kormorant's video footage of the wreck here:

Read more on:    pretoria  |  boat accident

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