The death toll from the gas tanker explosion has tripled since the Christmas Eve incident.

Families and friends of victims of an explosion of a gas tanker in Johannesburg on Christmas Eve gathered on Friday morning for a memorial service, even as the death toll rose to 34 from a previous estimate of 27, the provincial health department said.

Health Minister Joe Phaahla joined relatives of the victims to pay their respects by lighting candles at the Boksburg Civic Centre.

The blast tore the roof of the emergency department of Tambo Memorial Hospital in the Boksburg suburb on Saturday. Many bystanders were also injured, while houses and several cars were destroyed.

The latest casualty numbers were released in a statement by a spokesman for the Gauteng Department of Health on Friday.

“The Ministry of Health can confirm that the death toll from the Boksburg explosion incident has risen to 34 on Friday, December 30, 2022,” it said.

The victims included 11 health workers and 23 members of the public, the spokesman said, adding that the figures were constantly being updated. The severe nature of the burns caused by the blast was expected to lead to an increase in deaths, authorities had previously said.

The victims included children as young as nine, according to a post shared on social media by the health department commemorating a memorial to the victims.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised help to the victims and said authorities were investigating the incident.

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By wy9m6

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