Three soldiers die in bid to rescue people at Durban naval base

Three soldiers who died while rescuing contract workers overwhelmed by gas leak have been hailed as heroes.

Three contract workers died in the accident at the Salisbury Island naval base on Durban’s Bluff on Friday.

RescueCare spokesman Garrith Jamieson said 24 others treated for gas inhalation and transported by ambulance to hospital were in a stable condition.

 Six people die in ‘freak accident’ at Durban’s naval base

“Our men should be remembered as heroes for what they did” said South African National Defence Force spokesman Mafi Mgobozi. “The contractors had been working on a sewer pit at the base when they were overwhelmed by gas. Our members then rushed in to try to save them.”

He said the three soldiers had also been exposed to the gas‚ adding that the investigation into the incident would continue.

“We will release the names of the deceased once we have made contact with their families.”

It is understood that men had been working in a partially flooded underground shaft or pit inside a disused building at the naval base‚ according to a source with knowledge of the incident.

An emergency service member‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition of anonymity‚ said a group of workers were underground when the gas leak occurred.

Earlier in the week‚ one SANDF member died when the flatbed truck transporting a tank was involved in an accident. Then‚ on Wednesday‚ another SANDF member drowned while swimming in the sea off Durban’s main beachfront.

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