Cause of Hartbeespoort Dam party boat tragedy still not clear

2016-11-20 11:00
(Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit)

(Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit)

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Johannesburg - The SA Maritime Safety Authority (Samsa) says it has launched an initial investigation into the cause of a fire on board a party boat at Hartbeespoort Dam, north of Pretoria, which left four people dead.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon with approximately 200 passengers on board the vessel, named Prime Time.

Three passengers drowned and a fourth died on board the vessel after being trapped in the bathroom during the fire.

"In an effort to rescue the passengers from the burning vessel, one of the smaller vessels took on too many passengers and capsized, leading to the drowning and death of [the] three ... passengers," Samsa said in a statement.

"According to the Samsa surveyor who was at the scene, the vessel caught fire at the aft [the back of the vessel] where the kitchen, the bathrooms and the outboard motors are situated."

Senior paramedic of the Hartbeespoort Emergency Rescue Unit, Jerry Bouwer, told Netwerk24 on Saturday that 20 to 25 people were hanging from boats that could only carry up to eight people after the fire.

Pulane Xaba, a passenger on board the party boat, claimed a cigarette was dropped on a deck where a smaller vessel was refuelling – sparking the blaze.

However, on Sunday, Samsa said that the cause of the accident was not yet known but an inquiry would be carried out in the coming week.

Read more on:    samsa  |  pretoria  |  accidents
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