Boksburg Blast | NPA drops case against driver
Welcome back the truck driver behind the gas tanker explosion that killed 27 people has been released the NPA dropped the case against the 32 year old citing a lack of evidence meanwhile devastated families are now preparing to bury their loved ones one mother is mourning the loss of four of her children our reporter Heidi jocos joins us now with.
The latest Heidi we know the latest victim to have succumbed to their injuries today was a health worker from the Tampa Memorial Hospital so far 13 healthcare workers from that hospital were injured 10 past on three or in a critical condition 27 people lost their lives and so many more people were either injured or their.
Lives were impacted in some devastating way we’ve recently seen the company behind this this Transport company I’m releasing a lengthy statement about exactly what happened an account of what the driver did can you take us through that yes so quite a link statement that has been released Angelina I think it’s important and critical for South.
Africans to understand the version and accounts from the truck driver because many people have questions about why he went under the bridge did he not see the signage and maybe we can just take you through some of those points from the truck driver that speaks to the fact that he on the 24th of December the driver was on route to Richards Bay and.
From sorry from Richards Bay to Botswana he stayed at an overnight truck shop for about 10 hours and this is where it all went wrong he took the wrong exit to the N17 Highway and when he was re-routed it unfortunately took him to that bridge what’s important here is that there were no signs that showed the height of that particular Bridge so this is when the.
Truck driver decided to exit the truck and he he assessed the height of the track he then said okay it looks as though the truck will be able to fit under this bridge however it seems as though um when he uh was under the bridge when he started moving under the bridge and driving under the bridge he didn’t.
Realize that there was a dip in the road and there was a slight incline and when there was a slight incline this is when the top of the of the gas tanker scraped and this is when uh he immediately stopped and he was trying to assess what was going on and where this uh you know where the track was um was scraped and he realized it was the top of the tanker.
So the tankers cap had been scrapped off he immediately called the company that he works for ISS to let them know about the incident and he himself alerted all officials all authorities so he let the um the fire department know he let the police know and he lets all authorities know that this could possibly be a very um tricky situation that could possibly.
Unfold he cornered off the scene he let the public know he led motorists know that they need to move away he stopped a security vehicle they cornered off the area and when he realized that the security vehicle had not displayed the tape far enough from the back of the truck he ran and pulled it off and moved its a couple of hundred meters further.
To keep people away from the scene I think what’s also critical here is that you actually have videos that are circulating where you can hear the truck drivers shouting at people to leave the scene and even try to physically move people and the crowds out of the area he also explains to the company and this was in the statement that there were.
Eyewitnesses also trying to assist him and this is also where the company got some of these statements where they were able to say that this is what happened this is is critical annually approximately 30 minutes after the track got stuck it ignited there were 30 minutes that this truck driver authorities and everybody in the area.
Had to evacuate everybody in the area including the hospital the hospital should have been informed because of the gas explosion it of course went at meters and this is this is why we have this terrible tragedy with the majority of those that have lost their lives being health care workers um and I think this is why it’s so.
Important for people to understand the version of the truck driver’s events because many are saying well why was he released so very important as you say the people understand all the events leading up to this explosion that it wasn’t just a case of all there’s a bridge driving under it boom lots of people dying and their lives have.
Changed forever and the company has very firmly thrown their support behind the driver but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t still be charges against him so give us give us an indication of what’s likely to happen yes so the company has released in this lengthy statement giving an account of what happened and what the truck driver has explained to.
The company that they fully support and find that the truck driver was professional he was not negligent and he did everything in his power to try and get everybody away from the area they’ve also alluded to the fact that he is an experienced truck driver yes he’s 32 years old but he has about seven years experience in this industry and he has a.
Valid driver’s license he also has a permit to drive this kind of track it’s a gas tanker it’s not just any kind of track which is highly explosive and obviously a very sensitive truck to be driving the company says that he was not negligence and he has been cooperating with authorities he was arrested on Christmas Day after this whole incident.
Happened however he was released two days ago by police and everybody’s asking but why was he released the police have said that they are doing further investigations some of the charges that he initially faced were palpable homicide and negligence negligent driving and malicious damage to property but it seems as though the.
Police don’t really have evidence to charge him for culpable homicides so they will still be investigating according to the police and once the dockets is handed over to the state the national Prosecuting Authority then he might face further charges and be taken to court and rearrested but at this stage it doesn’t seem as though that’s.
Going to be the case and the premier of Carlton says he will wait for authorities to further investigate and should he not be satisfied because at the moment you have 27 families that want answers and want to know who’s going to be held responsible and accountable for this he will institute a commission of inquiry to get to the.
Bottom of this and Heidi Shirley given that they were 30 minutes between that truck getting stuck and the actual explosion itself that there are more people than just the truck driver Whose actions should be looked into and scrutinized very carefully if as you say emergency personnel and First Responders had not necessarily evacuated people Far.
Enough From The Scene or from the hospital that that should also come under scrutiny most certainly and there are many suggestions out there that this is possibly why the culpable homicide charges were dropped and for the truck driver because firstly if the company has indicated and the truck driver has indicated that there was no proper.
Signage on the bridge that already is a massive problem if the truck driver stepped out of the track to assess whether or not the track was going to fit under the bridge and then this happened he called authorities he informed the police he informed the firefighters and everybody else he also tried to evacuate everybody in the area.
There was enough time to basically save lives and this did not happen so lots of questions are out there people need to answer as to why was there no signage why were people not evacuated and why did people not act fast enough who dropped the ball and of course at this time everyone’s thoughts got out to those families who are preparing to bury.
Loved ones that that should not have lost their lives at a time especially of year when people spend time together and it’s a time to celebrate and be joyful yes certainly and I think what’s even more tragic is that it was a very difficult day because we got a chance to sit with some of the families who have lost their loved ones and there was one.
Particular family only that really stood out it’s a brother and sister that are both nurses at the tumble Memorial Hospital the brother was doing night shift and the sister was doing day shift and he was leaving the hospital and his sister had just arrived and she was getting out of the vehicle and this is when the explosion happened and it’s.
It’s not easy for families to really understand what’s going on but this particular family and most families that have lost their loved ones in this tragedy have said there is a matter of urgency to bury their loved ones because of the state of the bodies which it really just shows you and explains and paints a picture of of the devastation.
And what really happened in that in that explosion so it’s a very difficult time and I think what’s even more concerning is that the cartoon Premier indicating here so that many are still in critical condition and two people remain unaccountered for