A suspected underground gas explosion in Johannesburg, South Africa, caused one person to die and 48 others to be injured after cracks opened in the streets, emergency services said on Thursday.
“In the early hours of this morning, we managed to recover the body of a male at the site where the explosion occurred,” said Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the emergency management services.
While the cause of the blaze in South Africa’s largest city remains unclear, the company that supplies gas to the region said it did not believe its underground pipelines were the cause of the accident as it was initially believed to have been caused by officials.
People present at the scene of the explosion reported that they smelled chemical odor and saw smoke coming out after the explosion.
Meanwhile, the body of the deceased was recovered after rescue teams searched the affected area overnight, according to tweets from Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services spokesman, Robert Mlaudzi.
City officials are examining underground pipes and cables, including experts, for possible explosion or gas leak hazards.
“We are still looking for the source,” said Panyza Lesufi, the premier of Gauteng, the South African province where Johannesburg is located.
According to Lesufi, 12 people are being treated in various hospitals in Johannesburg, while another 36 injured have been discharged.
Fearing a second explosion or collapse of multi-storey buildings, people were evacuated from one area of the city on Wednesday night as the current damage was widespread. People returned to the area on Thursday morning to return to homes or work.
A five-city block area and six roads were damaged, involving 34 vehicles, some of which were overturned or pulled over, while others fell into far-reaching crevasses.
Most minibuses were taxis, a popular mode of transport in South Africa. Witnesses reported that some people were sitting in minibuses when the explosion hurled them into the air.
An eyewitness told a local television station ENCA, saying: “I was in my car when I heard a big bang. Next thing, I was in the air and my car was flipping over.” He said he was in shock but was not hurt. al Jazeera informed of.
Following the explosion, emergency crews searched damaged vehicles and buildings, discovered the dead, and raised the number of injured from nine to 13.