Look for cause of deadly Denel explosion

Emergency services and government agencies are working with Rheinmetall Denel Munition to find the cause of a deadly explosion that claimed the lives of eight people, the company said on Wednesday.

The blast on Monday took place at the depot of Rheinmetall Denel in Somerset West, near Cape Town.

The company's statement comes after a joint operational order – consisting of emergency agencies and government agencies – was deactivated on Tuesday night after it was launched immediately after the explosion on Monday to effectively "coordinate immediate disaster response and mitigation".

It has now entered the recovery phase, during which all parties work together to determine the cause of the deadly explosion.

According to the company, the product involved in the explosion was an ignition propellant consisting of more than 95% nitrocellulose, commonly referred to as gun cotton, used as an ignition material for ammunition loading systems.

Rheinmetall Denel claimed that the cloud of smoke observed after the explosion did not pose a health risk for its staff or people in neighboring areas.

It would meet in the buildings of the affected family members on Thursday morning to give them a detailed update of the incident, the company said.

"At the moment nothing is more important than providing the greatest possible support and care for the families involved in this heartbreaking incident," said CEO Norbert Schulze in a statement.

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