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At least 17 people dead following toxic gas leak in South Africa

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At least 17 people are dead as a result of a gas leak at an informal housing encampment on the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Investigators say the source of the leak was a nitrate gas cylinder being kept in a shack.

“It’s not a nice scene at all … It’s painful, emotionally draining and tragic,” said Gauteng Province Premier Panyaza Lesufi Lesufi, who visited the scene, was quoted as saying in news reports.

Nitrate gas is frequently used by illegal miners to process gold.

Authorities didn’t say if the illegal miners they believed to be responsible for the gas leak were among the casualties. Illegal mining is rife in the gold-rich areas around Johannesburg, where miners go into closed-off and disused mines to search for any deposits left over.

(With input from agencies)

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