Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday sent condolences to the families of six people who died in a gas accident at the Natal Naval Base in Bayhead, Durban.
“The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has learnt with shock and sadness of the accident that happened today at Natal Naval Station, where three civilian members from the Department of Public Works and three uniform members of the SANDF lost their lives in a gas accident,” the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said in a statement.
“The Minister would like to pass her condolences to the families and friends of all the members who lost their lives.”
Earlier, paramedics said that six people died and 26 other people were injured in the freak accident.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said paramedics had arrived on the scene and found rescue teams already in attendance, situated near a sewer pit.
“Rescue teams had already retrieved the bodies of six men from the sewer pit,” Meiring said.
“Paramedics assessed all six men and found that they showed no signs of life. Unfortunately, nothing could be done for the men and they were declared dead on the scene.”
Meiring said the patients were treated for their injuries and thereafter transported to various hospitals in the area for further treatment.
Meanwhile, Rescue Care Paramedics spokesperson Ceron Lennox said paramedics and other emergency services arrived on the scene at around 11.40am and found that rescue personal had already retrieved the bodies of six people from the pit.
Lennox said that they had already die before paramedics arrived.
“They were declared deceased at the scene. Twenty six other people had sustained minor injuries and were treated on scene before being transported to a nearby hospital for the further care that they required.”
Lennox said that the exact events leading up to the incident was unknown and authorities were on the scene to investigate.
Meanwhile, Transnet National Ports Authority said it was aware of the “fatal incident” that took place at the Durban Naval Base, which falls outside of the Port of Durban land area.
“The Port of Durban cannot comment on this matter as it is not within its authority or jurisdiction,” Transnet said.
– African News Agency