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ArcelorMittal workers confirmed dead after explosion

Three workers trapped in a building collapse at ArcelorMittal's Vanderbijlpark operation have been confirmed dead.
ArcelorMittal, Vanderbijlpark. Image:
ArcelorMittal, Vanderbijlpark. Image: Kierano

They were trapped after the building they were in collapsed following an explosion on Wednesday morning. ArcelorMittal SA said that a portion of a 90-metre stack at one of the operation’s coke batteries failed in the early hours of the morning, and fell onto the coke battery control room in which the three employees had been working. Rescue teams worked throughout the night to locate the trio.

The firm said that it was investigating the cause of the collapse.

However, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said in a statement it would ask the labour department to investigate the incident and whether ArcelorMittal acted fast enough to find the workers.

“We are convinced that had it not been for the intense efforts of workers themselves, who risked their own lives and took the initiative searching through the massive pile of rubble to locate workers who were trapped under the building, we would not have been able to recover these bodies,” the union said.

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