River Baptism Ceremony Ends in Tragedy After Flash Flood Kills 14

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Fourteen people have been found dead after a congregation of 33 attending a river baptism were caught in sudden flash flooding in South Africa’s Jukskei River on Saturday afternoon.

At least one person had been rescued from the rising stormwaters while several others from a church in Alexandra were able to make it to safety on their own, according to Spokesperson of the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services Robert Mulaudzi.

“Total number of bodies recovered today is 12 including 2 discovered yesterday makes it a total of 14 bodies recovered in this drowning incident,” tweeted Mulaudzi, announcing that the search for the remaining constituents would resume on Monday. “Search has been called off for today.”

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Robert Mulaudzi, spokesman for the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, said that the authorities had warned people to be cautious about holding ceremonies in or near the river, which is notorious for flooding during South Africa’s rainy season.

“Our residents, especially congregants who normally practice these kinds of rituals, will be tempted to go to these river streams. Our message for them is to exercise caution as and when they conduct these rituals.”

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.

BBC

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