Distraught loved ones assembled at the Hillbrow Mortuary and Forensic Services on Monday. This follows the drowning of 14 church congregants at the Jukskei River in Alexandra over the weekend, while another has been admitted to hospital. The search and rescue operations were called off on Sunday evening due to inclement weather and bad light.
Thirty three- year-old Thokozani Sibanda’s family is shattered. They last saw her over the weekend, before the news of church congregants being swept away and drowning made headlines.
While the family is hoping for a miracle, reality is creeping in that Thokozani could be among those still missing.
“Others have closure after finding the bodies of their loved ones. They are still uncertain as their loved ones do not even appear in the pictures of the deceased,” says aunt Hloniphani Ncube.
It’s not yet clear which church denomination was conducting baptisms when the tragedy struck. Fourteen bodies were recovered before the Johannesburg Emergency Services called off the search party. They’re monitoring the weather for a possible continuation of the search.
They decided to call off the search and looks likely to continue today due to a possibility of more rains later during the day,” says Robert Mulaudzi from Johannesburg Emergency Services.
Thokozani’s family says it will only plan a funeral, once the body of their loved one has been found.
VIDEO: Joburg EMS expect heavy rain to hamper search for missing churchgoers at Jukskei rive