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Probe into Hartebeespoort Dam boat tragedy underway

One person burnt to death and three others drowned when a cruise boat caught fire on the dam over the weekend.

Emergency service officials at the scene of a boat fire at the Hartbeespoort Dam where four people died. Picture: iWitness.

JOHANNESBURG – The South African Maritime Safety Authority has started interviewing people who witnessed the deadly Hartbeespoort Dam accident to try and gain insight into the cause of the tragedy.

One person burnt to death and three others drowned when the cruise boat caught fire over the weekend.

The safety authority says it’s investigating all possibilities to determine what sparked the blaze that ripped through the boat’s kitchen, its bathrooms and its outdoor motors.

Spokesperson Tebogo Ramajie says: “The initial investigations indicate that the vessel caught fire at the aft part, that means at the rear of the vehicle, where the engines are situated.”

He says they’ll also be checking whether basic safety rules were adhered to around electrical appliances.

“There will be general safety rules in terms of operating a vessel which has a kitchen. If those have been contravened, it will come out in the investigation.”

It’s still unclear whether an inspection of the boat was carried out before the tragedy.

The event organisers have been unavailable for comment.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)