Two firefighters were killed and seven seriously injured as they raced to the scene of a raging veld fire that threatened a game reserve north of the city.
The incident has been described by Working on Fire (WoF) management as the worst accident yet to hit the firefighting outfit, either on or off the fire line.
At about 10am yesterday the crew of 21 firefighters were responding to a blaze at the Mabuza Nature Reserve near Rust de Winter, about 100km north of Pretoria.
The driver of the Samil 50 fire truck apparently lost control of the vehicle on a dirt road.
All the occupants were thrown from the rolling fire truck. One of several firefighters who were trapped underneath it, was killed in the crash.
The other critically injured fireman was airlifted to Montana Hospital, but later died if his injuries.
The names of the dead have not been released as their next of kin have not yet been notified.
WoF crews recently made headlines with their courageous efforts to quell the series of fires that swept across Mpumalanga plantations, killing several people and destroying millions of rands in property.
WoF spokesperson Val Charlton said they were distressed by the incident. “This is the worst accident that we have ever had in terms of all our firefighting operations, whether on the fire line or travelling to and from a fire.”
Charlton said their provincial manager was on site to initiate the start of a health and safety investigation into the cause of the accident. “All that we know is that they were on a dirt road en route to a fire in the Mabuza Nature Reserve when the truck rolled,” she said.
ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the remaining firefighters sustained multiple moderate to serious injuries and were stabilised on the scene before being transported to nearby hospitals.