Investigators probing 'tragic' Cape Town trench collapse that left 3 dead


The families and colleagues of three men who died when a trench collapsed on them in Cape Town are receiving counselling following the "tragic accident", Exeo Khokela Civil Engineering Construction said on Tuesday.

The workers had been installing a sewer line in Sandown Road at around 16:30 on Tuesday when a "side wall of the trench collapsed unexpectedly", the company said in a statement.

"A full, independent investigation into the incident is under way and a comprehensive report will be submitted to the Department of Labour within the next two weeks."

The company said it would not be releasing the names of the deceased.

"At this stage, the families are being contacted for assistance and the names of the deceased will not be made public. Our deepest condolences go out to their families and loved ones."

READ MORE | PICS: Colleagues tried to save 3 men killed after Cape Town trench collapsed

According to the company's website, it was awarded a R48m contract to do the dualing of a portion of Sandown Road, between Sunningdale Drive and Parklands Main Road.

The project involved relocating underground services from its current position and constructing a new carriageway for a future integrated rapid transport lane.

The men who died were aged 22, 40 and 53, according to Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.

He said their colleagues tried to rescue them but were unsuccessful.

The company indicated that those staff members involved in the rescue and recovery were also being counselled.

"Exeo would like to thank all those who worked deep into the night to assist with guidance, support, equipment and physical help."



The City's fire and rescue service spokesperson, Jermaine Carelse, said an added complication was that a water pipe had burst, which flooded the trench.

The rescue mission became a lengthy recovery mission and the last body was retrieved at 02:00 on Tuesday, said Carelse.

The community rallied together to support the officials on the scene.

"The neighbourhood watches were there, and they coordinated with refreshments and coffee. They were really helpful," said Ward 107 councillor Nicky Rheeder.

Van Wyk said that once the men's bodies were retrieved, they were taken to Salt River Mortuary.

Police are investigating an inquest.

GET THE NEWS at your fingertips and download the News24 app for Android or iPhone.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.