At least 16 people – including three children – have died in South Africa due to a suspected gas leak, police have said.
The incident happened in the district of Boksburg, near the city of Johannesburg, according to the South African Police Services.
Police said two people were also taken to the hospital for treatment.
Local officials said that as many as 24 people had died – though it wasn’t immediately clear why there was a discrepancy in the death toll.
A spokesperson for the local disaster and emergency management services, William Ntladi, told state broadcaster SABC: “For now the number [of fatalities] is 24.
Image: Onlookers gather at the scene “Once the scene unfolds throughout the night we will come with exact numbers in terms of fatalities and in terms of the casualties that have been hospitalised.”
Mr Ntladi said women and children were believed to be among the dead.
A search operation was underway. Teams were looking for casualties in a 100-metre radius around the sources of the leak.
Local reports said the incident could have been linked to suspected illegal mining activities, but Mr Ntladi said it was not yet known.
“Whether the illegal miners are among the deceased, that is not yet known,” Mr Ntladi said.