Nine people were killed and 40 injured when a tanker truck exploded in the town of Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, according to emergency services.
The tanker, loaded with LPG, became “stuck under a bridge” near a hospital and apartment buildings on Saturday morning.
“We received a call at 0750 (0550 GMT) that a tanker truck was stuck under a bridge. Firefighters were called in to put out the flames. Unfortunately, the tanker exploded,” William Ntladi, spokesman for the region’s emergency services, told AFP.
Videos posted by residents on social media showed the massive explosion, with pedestrians fleeing the flames and cars speeding dramatically. Local reports indicated that many homes and vehicles were damaged in the blast.
The tanker reportedly took the gas to the nearby OR Tambo Memorial hospital, where some of the injured were treated. According to local media reports, patients from some hospital departments were evacuated due to the explosion and fire.
“Walking from here was just a sight of total devastation. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Simon Labing, a local resident, told the local Citizen newspaper. He said he saw the bodies of six adults and two children.
Ntladi said one of those injured was the driver, who was taken to hospital. Of the 40 injured, 19 are in critical condition, while another 15 were seriously injured but in stable condition.
He added that six firefighters suffered minor injuries.
There is no immediate information on those killed in the blast.
The truck was loaded with 60,000 liters of LPG, which is mainly used in cooking and gas stoves, coming from southeastern South Africa.
Tanya Campbell, mayor of Ekurhuleni, a township that includes Boksburg, said the incident was being investigated.