Johannesburg: At least 16 people died on Wednesday evening following suspected gas inhalation at an informal settlement in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg.
Initial investigation indicates that it could be linked to illegal gold mining in the area, local media quoted emergency authorities as saying.
Nitrate oxide gas is often used by illegal gold miners to extract gold from soil stolen from abandoned mine shafts.
One of the gas cylinders was found leaking in Boksburg’s densely populated Angelo shanty town.
“Search and rescue operations are continuing on the scene as we search for more possible bodies,” an emergency official said.