The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) confirmed that three ArcelorMittal employees, who went missing after Wednesday’s explosion at the Vanderbijlpark plant have died.

Africa’s biggest steel producer says a portion of a stack at one of the operation’s coke batteries – fell onto a control room where the three employees were working.

ArcelorMittal says a full investigation will be instituted to understand the cause of the incident.

Numsa’s Sedibeng regional secretary, Kabelo Ramokhathali, says, “We send our condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Three employees were trapped early yesterday morning, around 2am. In fact, we were informed that there was an explosion at the Vanderbijlpark plant where three employees were trapped. I arrived this morning and by then two bodies were found and the other was just found, so all three bodies were found and removed from the place.”

Numsa says a thorough investigation into the matter will be conducted.

Ramokhathali, “It was only those three that are deceased, the other employees were not injured because they were away from the area. We are going to conduct an intensive, thorough investigation because we suspect a lot of things but for now we can’t speculate…”

“The area itself, I think we have identified a lot of things, but we can’t reveal them now or point any figure at either the employee or employer,” added Ramokhathali.