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The death toll from a fuel tanker explosion near Johannesburg on Christmas eve has climbed to 26, a local official said on Wednesday (Dec. 28).

The provincial prime minister communicated the update during a visit to comfort families of the victims.

Relatives of the deceased gathered in Johannesburg during a memorial service honouring their loved ones.

A truck carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) got stuck under a bridge in Boksburg on December 24, causing a leak and an explosion which badly damaged a nearby hospital.

It carried 60,000 litres (nearly 16,000 US gallons) of LPG, which is widely used for cooking.

10 people were initially killed. Eight more people subsequently died from severe burns and other injuries, the health authorities reported on Monday, and eight more died afterwards.

According to local media reports, the driver who arrested on suspicion of culpable homicide was released for lack of evidence.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said his thoughts were with the families and friends of the victims, adding he awaited the outcome of investigations into the tragedy.

Source: AFRICA NEWS

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