SANDF soldiers. Picture: REUTERS
SANDF soldiers. Picture: REUTERS

Three soldiers are among the six who died in an accident involving a gas leak at the Salisbury Island naval base at Durban harbour. Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson confirmed that three of those who died are South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members. It is believed the three other people who died are part of a team contracted to do work at the base.

It is understood that men had been working in a partially flooded underground shaft or pit inside a disused building at the naval base‚ according to a source with knowledge of the incident.

SANDF spokesperson Mafi Mgobozi said the accident was being investigated. I have people on the ground‚" he said‚ unwilling to be drawn on the death toll or whether any of the dead were members of the military.

When the BDlive team tried to access the scene it was blocked by an armed guard. An emergency service member‚ who spoke to BDlive on condition of anonymity‚ said a group of workers were reportedly underground when the gas leak occurred.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring confirmed the six deaths‚ in what he called a "freak accident". "ER24 paramedics arrived on the scene and found rescue teams already in attendance. Rescue teams had already retrieved the bodies of six men from the sewer pit‚" he said.

The injured were transported by private and military ambulances to Durban hospitals.

TMG Digital

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