At least one dead in Durban smelter explosion

At least one person was killed and another nine critically injured in an explosion at a ferromanganese smelter in Cato Ridge near Durban on Sunday morning, emergency services said.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said one person had died in the explosion while another nine were in a critical condition, each having suffered burns to 80% of their bodies.

The Durban fire brigade was attending the scene at the Assmang ferromanganese smelter 60km from Durban.

“There had been an explosion in one of the boilers in the factory followed by a fire. The fire had been extinguished,” said a senior fire-brigade official.

One person was unaccounted for.

Further details about the incident were not immediately available.

The provincial emergency medical rescue service had initially reported that two people were killed, but this could not be confirmed.

The factory has been subject to a Labour Department inquiry into workers’ exposure to poisonous fumes that have resulted in 40 alleged cases of manganism.
The latest session of the inquiry is due to start on Monday.—Sapa

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