WATCH: This is how officials are using drone technology to see underground after Joburg CBD explosion

Published Jul 26, 2023


Officials at the City of Johannesburg have demonstrated how they are using advanced drone technology to see underground in the aftermath of the Joburg CBD explosion.

The officials were also using thermal imaging equipment and radar mapping as part of their response to the Joburg CBD explosion.

Joburg city manager Floyd Brink confirmed that the massive explosion on Bree Street (Lilian Ngoyi Street) was caused by a gas leak, but they were still yet to uncover what the source of the leak was.

The gas explosion happened exactly a week ago, at 5.30pm, last Wednesday.

At least one person was killed in the explosion, while up to 48 people were injured.

Police have since erected barbed wire fencing around the precinct to keep members of the public out.

A video released by Joburg officials on Wednesday showed how they were using hi-tech drones to get underground.

An official demonstrated that they were opening manholes, which are often welded shut, to allow the drone to get into the sewer line. The drone is equipped with lighting technology and cameras.

Over ground, the officials were able to mark with spray paint the points where the gas was still coming out and take the necessary action required.

Multiple points along Bree Street were marked, showing that the gas was still coming out.

An official said the drone was using radar mapping to locate areas of concern and that the fire department was also assisting.

The official also said they were using thermal imaging equipment to pick up hydrocarbons, which showed where the gas was still escaping.

Brink said last week that the city officials had been using “world class“ advanced technology to identify underground defects beneath the surface.

“We have also deployed advanced technologies to assess and review underground damage to the infrastructure.

“The technologies deployed are world-class and first of its kind on the continent and have assisted us to identify underground defects underneath the surface of the roads that are still intact and unaffected at this stage,” the city manager said last week during a technical media briefing.

Providing an update seven days after the explosion, Brink said the Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) had made great strides in the emergency response and recovery of services in the area.

Electricity was restored to the city on Tuesday, while sewer and water services were being restored on Wednesday.

Brink said officials had executed their duties “exceptionally” well since the day of the explosion.