Horror in Johannesburg, South Africa, as nine people killed by flash flood during religious river ritual

Image of search teams in the Jukskei river, Johannesburg. Credit: [email protected]

At least nine people feared to be dead with eight missing after a flash flood hit a group of worshippers conducting a religious ritual in the Jukskei river in Johannesburg, South Africa.


A search operation is ongoing in Johannesburg, South Africa today, Sunday, December 4, after a flash flood swept away a group of worshippers who were conducting a religious ritual in a river. At least nine people have died and another eight are still missing, according to Sky News.

The congregation of 33 people had attended what is believed to have been either a cleansing ritual or baptism on Saturday 3. This was despite continued warnings from the Johannesburg emergency services about the dangers posed by the Jukskei river after recent heavy rainfall.

Rescue teams found the bodies of two people late on Saturday evening. When the operation resumed this morning, another seven bodies were recovered. It was reported by local media that the mission has now become purely a recovery task as opposed to rescue.

“Our residents, especially congregants who normally practice these kinds of rituals, will be tempted to go to these river streams”, Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesperson for the Johannesburg emergency services told a news briefing. “Our message to them is to exercise caution as and when they conduct these rituals”.

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa. The Jukskei river flows in the east and baptisms an cleansing rituals are often held at locations along its course.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]