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Gas Explosion Kills One, Injures 48 in Downtown Johannesburg
Chaos and tragedy unfolded in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg, as a powerful gas explosion ripped through the heart of the bustling metropolis.
A suspected underground gas explosion rocked the heart of South Africa's largest city on Wednesday during evening rush hour, leaving one person dead and at least 48 others injured, authorities and emergency services reported.
Firefighters conducting rescue operations discovered the body of the deceased man trapped under a vehicle in the aftermath of the explosion. The cause of the blast, which occurred in downtown Johannesburg, remains unclear. Initially, authorities had speculated that the underground pipelines of the gas supplier in the area might be responsible. However, the gas company refuted this claim, prompting further investigation into other potential causes.
City authorities have brought in specialists to examine the underground infrastructure in the vicinity and assess the possibility of any additional gas leaks or potential for further explosions. Panyaza Lesufi, the premier of the Gauteng province, where Johannesburg is located, stated, "We are still searching for the source."
As of the latest update, 12 individuals are receiving medical treatment in various hospitals throughout Johannesburg, while the remaining 36 injured have been discharged. Some residents were evacuated from the area Wednesday night due to concerns of a second explosion or potential collapse of multi-story buildings in the downtown district.
The extent of the damage is substantial, with an estimated five city blocks affected and at least six roads damaged. Approximately 34 vehicles were impacted, with some overturned or stacked on top of others. Deep crevices appeared in the middle of roads, giving the area an appearance reminiscent of scenes from apocalyptic movies.
Eyewitnesses recounted the terrifying moments of the explosion, describing how many people were in the streets preparing to catch minibus taxis, a common commuting method in South Africa when the blast occurred. Most of the damaged vehicles were minibus taxis, and some passengers were thrown into the air due to the force of the explosion.
In the aftermath of the blast, emergency crews tirelessly searched through the wreckage of overturned vehicles and nearby buildings, working into the night to find survivors and assess the full extent of the damage.
Investigations into the cause of the explosion continue as authorities work to ensure the safety of residents and prevent any potential further incidents. The incident has left the community in shock and mourning for the life lost and the significant impact on the city's infrastructure.
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