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More S. Africa Tanker Blast Victims

A gas tanker explosion in Boksburg
A gas tanker explosion in Boksburg

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

"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.

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 meters from the scene.

The tanker, carrying LP gas, struck the underside of the low bridge as it attempted to cross beneath it, triggering the bomb-like explosion.