N1 explosion: Forensic experts comb scene

Five people died in an explosion on the N1 between Mokopane and Polokwane.

A grocery truck collided with another truck carrying blasting cartridges on the stretch of tarmac between Mokopane and Polokwane on 27 February 2014. Picture: Supplied to EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Forensic specialists and senior detectives have been deployed to the scene of a massive explosion on the N1 highway in Limpopo in which in which four police officers and a truck driver died.

A grocery truck collided with another truck carrying blasting cartridges at around 1am on the stretch of tarmac between Mokopane and Polokwane.

When the police arrived on the scene, the truck carrying the cartridges caught fire and exploded.

The four officers and the driver of the grocery truck were killed instantly while another three people were injured, one of them critically.

The police's Ronel Otto says three private cars were also damaged in the explosion.

"The drivers were also taken to hospital. But as far as we have been able to determine, they didn't sustain life threatening injuries."

Police say the owner of the truck carrying the cartridges has not yet been identified.

Otto said the explosion caused a crater in the road and parts of the trucks are being found over 300 metres away.

The Limpopo government has called for a thorough investigation into the blast.

Limpopo's Kenny Mathivha says, "This is just terrible. It's very hard to accept. The MEC for transport, senior government officials and the police commissioner have visited the scene."