Explosion at RDM Somerset West claims eight lives


An explosion at Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s (RDM) Somerset West plant on Monday reportedly claimed the lives of eight people and a full investigation as to its cause started soon afterwards.

A brief statement issued by RDM chief executive Norbert Schulze said the explosion was “experienced” at the propellant operations building of the plant.
“During operations an explosion occurred destroying the entire building and damaging the immediate surrounding blast walls.
“There have been fatalities and the affected area has been cordoned off due to it being unsafe. This makes it unable for RDM to confirm details pertaining to fatalities at this time,” he said.

Schulze assured Cape Town residents the pall of smoke left after the explosion “holds no threat” to the general public.
“All necessary precautions have been taken and the investigation will continue at first light today (Tuesday, September 4),” he said.

Cape Town media reports have it that eight people died in the blast which will be fully investigated by RDM. This Cape Town Metro Disaster Risk Management spokesman was because the munitions plant is a National Key Point.

Cape Town metro Fire and Rescue Services said it responded to RDM at 15h45 on Monday. A spokesman was quoted as saying “an explosion occurred and personnel were in the process of extinguishing the subsequent fire”.
“Four persons are confirmed to have sustained fatal injuries and firefighters are carrying out search and rescue for another six persons,” Theo Layne was quoted as saying.

The Cape Town Metro later said all missing people at the site were accounted for.