Boksburg tanker explosion: Police arrest driver for culpable homicide after 15 confirmed dead

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  • Police have arrested the driver of a gas tanker after it exploded in Boksburg, killing 15.
  • Three staff members - a driver and two nurses - from Tambo Memorial Hospital were among the dead. 
  • Health Minister Joe Phaahla and Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko were at the hospital to assess the damage.

Police said on Sunday that the 32-year-old driver has been charged with multiple counts of culpable homicide, negligent causing of an explosion resulting in death, and malicious damage to property. 

Preliminary investigations suggest that the gas tanker got stuck trying to drive through a low bridge and impact resulted in the explosion, police say. The tanker was apparently travelling from Richards Bay to Botswana.

The driver had not been harmed in the incident. On Sunday Health Minister Joe Phaahla said: "The information, if true, knowing what he was carrying… he did anticipate trouble, and it was alleged that he actually tried to warn people to keep far [away]. That is the story one is getting."

Scores were injured during the incident on Saturday. Fifteen people, including a 10-year-old, have died. One family had lost four relatives in the incident. 

Phaahla said three staff members - a driver and two nurses - from Tambo Memorial Hospital were among the dead.

boksburg tanker explosion
A destroyed firetruck that attended the scene of a fuel tanker explosion.

An estimated 24 patients and 13 staff members were in the hospital's emergency unit at the time of the explosion and sustained severe burns. All of them were transferred to neighbouring hospitals.

The truck carrying liquified petroleum gas exploded after catching fire when it got stuck under a bridge about 100 metres from the hospital, News24 reported earlier on Sunday.

On Sunday, Phaahla and Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko were at the hospital to assess the infrastructure and medical equipment damaged as a result of the truck explosion.

He said major structural damage was reported at the accident scene, as well as at the emergency unit and x-ray departments of the hospital.

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