The South African settlement reeled as a lethal gas leak claimed lives unexpectedly. Relief efforts intensified, addressing the lethal repercussions. The community’s resilience was tested, but their response to the lethal situation showed strength. Measures to prevent future incidents were immediately considered, ensuring such a lethal event wouldn’t recur.
A devastating incident in a South African settlement resulted in the tragic deaths of at least 17 people, including three children, due to a toxic nitrate gas leak caused by illegal miners processing gold.
An illegal mining operation processing gold in a settlement in South Africa turned into a horrifying tragedy as a toxic nitrate gas leak claimed the lives of at least 17 people, including three children. The settlement is located in Boksburg, a city on the eastern outskirts of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province.
Gauteng Province Premier Panyaza Lesufi visited the Angelo settlement in Boksburg and described the scene as “heartbreaking.” He provided an updated death toll of 17, with an additional four individuals in critical condition in the hospital. The three children who lost their lives were one, six, and 15 years old.
Premier Lesufi expressed shared frustrations with local residents regarding the prevalence of illegal mining operations. He emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue, stating, “This thing of illegal mining is completely out of control … we really need our police force to be given the necessary firepower to match the firepower of these illegal miners.”
Boksburg has previously witnessed a tragic incident where 41 people died when a truck carrying liquefied petroleum gas got stuck under a bridge and exploded on Christmas Eve.
The deaths on Wednesday were attributed to a nitrate gas leak originating from a cylinder kept in a shack. Indications suggest that the cylinder was being used by illegal miners to separate gold from dirt and rock.
Authorities did not confirm whether the illegal miners responsible for the gas leak were among the casualties. Illegal mining is a significant issue in the gold-rich areas surrounding Johannesburg, with miners venturing into closed-off and disused mines in search of remaining deposits.
Fatalities from mining accidents, both underground and above ground, are unfortunately common. The South African government department responsible for mining recently reported that at least 31 illegal miners were believed to have perished in a gas explosion in a disused mine in the city of Welkom in central South Africa, with the cause attributed to methane gas.
This latest tragedy is likely to provoke further outrage against illegal miners, who are often migrants from neighboring countries, operate in organized groups, and are often blamed for introducing crime into local communities. Efforts to address the illegal mining issue and enhance safety measures are urgently needed to prevent further loss of life.