Thursday, 14 February 2013

Compressor and gas explosion kills 2 people – authorities probe investigation

At approximately 16:00 on Wednesday 13 February 2013 an explosion was reported at Atlas Gardens off Contermanskloof Road in Durbanville.

A private service provider, Comp Air, was contracted to conduct repair work on a compressor at Global Gases S.A. (Pty) Ltd. inside the Atlas Gardens industrial park.

Upon arrival of disaster response teams it was established that the windows of the factory had been blown out and sections of the corrugated iron roof had been ripped off after a compressor and gas cylinders exploded.

The technician, Martin O’Connor from Comp Air, that was conducting the repair work on a compressor sustained fatal injuries after the machinery exploded.

Saji Thekkemalayil Chandrasekharaan from Global Gases S.A. (Pty) Ltd. also sustained serious injuries lost one leg in the incident and was airlifted by ER24 helicopter to Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital. Whilst in hospital he succumbed of his injuries and was declared deceased. The Ports of Entry: Maritime & Aviation Ports Branch of the Department of Home Affairs confirmed that the Indian deceased holds a valid passport and work permit which was authorized to be in South Africa until 30 November 2015 whilst in the employ of Global Gases South Africa as a technical supervisor.

Brandon Pretorius another contractor from Marina Electro, also sustained serious injuries and his lower extremities (legs) were amputated. He was taken by the Skymed helicopter of AMS: SA Red Cross Air Mercy Service to the Milnerton Medi-Clinic. He is in a critical but stable condition.

Another seriously injured person, Jean Rossouw was treated and transported to Milnerton Medi-Clinic by ER24 personnel. He is in a serious but stable condition.

Brandon Pretorius and Jean Rossouw are currently in the intensive care unit at the Milnerton Medi-Clinic.

The inspectorate of the City’s Planning & Building Development has conducted an inspection after the explosion. It was determined that the building suffered structural damages and a notice was issued that emergency repair work to be undertaken with immediate effect to make the structure safe.

The cause relating to the tragic accident has not been established.

The City’s disaster response teams together with the Department of Labour and the South African Police Services has launched an investigation into the accident.

The High Commissioner of the Republic of India has been informed to notify the family of Saji Thekkemalayil Chandrasekharaan that is living in India that has lost his life in the freak accident.


Issued by: Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

Source: Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, Head: Systems Integration, Special Projects & Disaster Operations, Disaster Risk Management Centre, City of Cape Town

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