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Authorities probe 'unheard of' police van blast

Police are investigating how a prisoner managed to bring an explosive onto a police transport vehicle.

Three prisoners were killed and 14 injured when the truck they were being transported in exploded not far from the prison situated south of the city. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG PRISON - Police will on Tuesday continue to investigate how a prisoner managed to bring an explosive onto a police transport vehicle, after a daring escape attempt just a few streets from the Johannesburg Prison.

The vehicle transporting nearly 40 prisoners was travelling along the Golden Highway near the Naturena turn-off on Monday afternoon, when a prisoner on board set off an explosive.

Three inmates were killed and 14 others were injured in the explosion, but police still do not know what kind of device was used.

Correctional Services' National Commissioner Thomas Moyane yesterday described the escape attempt as "unheard of".

He said he and his colleagues had never witnessed a similar situation with prisoners in transit from court to a prison facility.

"Whether it's a bomb, whether it's a grenade, we don't know."

Police said two men tried to escape during the confusion, but were detained.

Meanwhile, four prisoners are fighting for their lives in hospital, after they were critically injured in the blast.