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Truck owner in Boksburg blast doesn’t know whether truck driver is among the deceased or not

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The transport and logistics company which owns the gas tanker truck that exploded in Boksburg is struggling to locate the driver.

The truck caught fire and exploded after getting stuck under a bridge near Tambo Memorial Hospital.

At least 10 people died and about 50 others were injured.

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The trucking company involved in the deadly gas tanker blast in Boksburg, Gauteng, says it does not know the whereabouts of the driver.

Infinite Transport director Pierre Cronje told News24 company officials were on the scene in Railway Street following the explosion but were unable to trace their driver.

“We are absolutely devastated that this happened, and we send our sincere condolences to the families affected,” he said.

“Our safety department has been on the ground since early this morning (Saturday) trying to get statements and understand what exactly transpired. We cannot confirm if the driver is dead or alive at this stage,” Cronje said.

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It was believed that the tanker caught alight after it scraped the top of its roof while driving under a low-lying bridge about 100 metres from Tambo Memorial Hospital.

Cronje said the driver, who was licensed, was transporting liquefied petroleum gas typically used in homes and industries for heating, cooking, lighting and cooling.

“We have sixty tankers, so I cannot, at this stage, say where exactly the driver was headed and whether it was a cross border or local truck.”

More on this story

Road Traffic Management Corporation spokesperson Simon Zwane, however, said the driver was taken to a nearby hospital.

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“We cannot confirm if he is part of the many deceased or still being treated in hospital. But from the information that I have, he was removed from the truck and taken to hospital,” he told News24.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi, together with MECs Mzi Khumalo, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela and Lebogang Maile, will be assessing the scene of the explosion.

Meanwhile, humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers has started assisting those affected.

“The destruction is far greater than anyone can currently envisage,” said Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman in a statement.

He noted that in addition to the loss of life, several people had suffered multiple injuries with various degrees of burns. He added that the casualty unit at Tambo Memorial Hospital was damaged, a low-lying bridge destroyed and the railway lines and several homes nearby damaged.

“Many onlookers watching the initial accident became victims when the tanker exploded”, Sooliman said.

His organisation offered to augment medical supplies to hospitals where patients were evacuated due to the hospital damage and provide non-medical support to firefighters, healthcare workers, staff, patients and families.

“We have put the services of our partner ambulance, Medi Response, on standby and will fund any ambulances required.”

Sooliman said his organisation was in the process of purchasing burn dressing, antibiotics for when sepsis sets in, analgesia, anaesthetic, pain delivery pumps, cleaning agents, special nutritional feeds, nasogastric pumps and related consumables to assist those in need.

Non-medical support includes bottled water, energy drinks, energy bars, biscuits, chocolates, fruit and eye drops for firefighters.

Tambo Memorial Hospital CEO Zenzo Ndabula confirmed that the explosion had damaged the casualty ward and that patients had to be evacuated.

“Bystanders have been injured, including some of our staff,” Ndabula said in a statement. – News24

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