15 people reportedly killed, hundreds injured as tanker explodes in South Africa

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A tanker exploded in Boksburg, South Africa killing 15 people and leaving hundreds of people injured.

According to emergency services officials, the truck was carrying gas when it got stuck under a low-lying bridge in the town of Boksburg, on Saturday, sparking flames. As firefighters worked to extinguish the flames the tanker exploded.

A “fire bomb” from the explosion substantially damaged Tambo Memorial Hospital, located about 100 metres away, authorities said. Three hospital staff members were among those killed, Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla said.

The hospital’s emergency unit and x-ray department were badly damaged, he said.

At least 321 injured people were taken to the damaged hospital, though some were later transferred to other Johannesburg-area hospitals.

Several houses and vehicles were also damaged by the explosion, according to officials.

“There was heat coming into the house. I thought of my wife, kids, and helping the affected people,” he said.

The tanker truck transporting liquefied petroleum gas — used in homes and industries for heating and cooking — was en route to Botswana from South Africa’s Indian Ocean port of Richards Bay, officials said.