South African worshippers swept away in Jukskei river flash flood

Online desk |  3 months ago | international

Nine people have died in South Africa and eight are missing after a flash flood in a river swept away worshippers taking part in a church ceremony.

Some of the more than 30 congregants were standing on rocks in the river on Saturday when a torrent of water surged through, an eyewitness said.

The pastor was saved after he clung on to an overhanging tree branch as he was being carried away, the witness added.

Rescuers resumed the search of Johannesburg's Jukskei river on Sunday.

It is notorious for flooding during South Africa's rainy season.

The search operation involves the police and fire service as well as specialist aquatic rescue teams.

After having recovered two bodies on Saturday they have so far found seven more on Sunday, Robert Mulaudzi, spokesperson for the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, told reporters.

Victor Ncube, who had been taking part in the church service, told local news station eNCA that he managed to pull five people out of the river who had been swept 100 metres downstream.

Others had been carried too far down the river for him to try to save them, he said.

Of the 33 who had been at the service, eight are still unaccounted for, the authorities say.