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Boksburg tanker explosion death toll jumps to 27

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 The death toll from a gas tanker blast in Johannesburg on Christmas Eve has climbed to 27, the provincial health department said on Thursday.

The explosion in the city’s Boksburg suburb on Saturday tore the roof off the emergency department at the Tambo Memorial Hospital, destroyed two houses, several cars and injured bystanders up to 500 metres from the scene.

“The department of health confirms that the death toll now stands at 27 from the Boksburg explosion. 10 of these are health workers from Tambo Memorial Hospital,” the Gauteng Department of Health said in a statement.

Authorities had earlier said 18 people died, but the number was expected to rise because of the severe nature of the burns inflicted by the blast.

The truck driver, who was earlier arrested on suspicion of culpable homicide, was released on Wednesday due to lack of evidence, local media reported.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised support to people affected by the blast and said authorities were looking into the incident.

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