JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Six South African men, including three soldiers, died on Friday when they were overcome by methane gas leaking from a sewer at a naval base in Durban, a navy spokesman said.
"There was gas leak and some of the workers called our soldiers for help," said Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, spokesman the Naval Base situated on Salisbury Island off South Africa's east coast.
"The three soldiers went down into the sewer pit to try and rescue them, and all six of them were overcome by gases," he said, adding that 22 people had been taken to hospital for treatment.
Emergency service ER24 said in a statement that rescue teams had already retrieved the bodies of six men from the sewer pit.
"Paramedics assessed all six men and found that they showed no signs of life," ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring said, adding that local authorities were investigating the incident.
Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Dominic Evans