The driver of the tanker involved in the explosion that occurred on 24 December in Boksburg has been released from prison due to a lack of evidence.
Following the explosion, Innovative Staffing Solutions (ISS) conducted an urgent investigation into the driver’s conduct on the day.
Driver found to not have been negligent
According to ISS Managing Director Arnoux Maré, the driver has a professional driving qualification in working at heights. He also has approximately seven years of experience transporting hazardous materials.
He has a valid driver’s license that is valid until January 13, 2027. The driver’s Professional Driving Permit is valid until January 12, 2024.
Following an urgent investigation, ISS determined that the driver was not negligent.
They found he did everything possible to warn people of the dangers of the situation.
ISS said he acted with the utmost care and professionalism, and they thanked him for his conscientious actions.
On 28 December, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) stated that there was no case against the driver.
Detailed report of the events leading up to that day
ISS said that it is deeply saddened by this horrific and tragic event that claimed the lives of several people.
They stated that they recognize that people need answers and have provided the detailed timeline below.
- On 24 December 2022, the driver was en route from Richards Bay to Botswana.
- After overnighting for approximately 10 hours at an approved truck stop, the driver took the wrong exit to get onto the N17 highway. He immediately tried to correct himself to get back on route.
- The exit unfortunately directed him under the bridge.
- The bridge height restriction boards were illegible.
- As an experienced and responsible driver, he first stopped the vehicle to establish if the truck and trailer would fit under the bridge before he drove through carefully.
- Only when he was comfortable that the truck and trailer would make it under the bridge, he proceeded with caution.
- However, the driver did not realise that the incline at the bottom of the bridge would raise the back of the trailer.
Truck gets stuck under bridge
- At approximately 06:15, the truck got stuck under the bridge, which caused the gas tanker to sustain damage which released liquified petroleum gas.
- When he heard a metal scraping sound, he immediately stopped the vehicle and jumped out. He first checked the front of the vehicle and could not detect any damage.
- When he inspected the back of the vehicle, he noticed that the tanker’s cap had been scraped off.
- He immediately called his ISS controller and informed them of the incident.
- The driver then called the fire department himself and alerted them of the incident and the gas leak.
- He immediately took the necessary action to cordon off the scene and to warn the public, motorists, and passer-by traffic to immediately leave the area.
- He managed to stop three vehicles, but others drove through his barricade and would not heed his warnings.
- A security vehicle stopped and helped him to put up safety tape behind the truck, while the driver ran to put up the safety tape ahead of the vehicle.
- When he realised 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 it a couple of hundred meters further to keep people away from the scene.
- The driver kept shouting at people to leave the scene and even tried to physically move the gathering crowds out of the way.
- Two women witnessed his attempts and also tried to assist him. One also provided statements accordingly.Approximately 30 minutes after the truck got stuck, it ignited.
- The driver was eventually overcome by gas inhalation and lost consciousness. An ambulance collected him and drove him away before the truck exploded approximately 30 minutes later.
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