Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Mogomotsi Magome & Adam May

Flash flood kills nine churchgoers with eight missing after religious rituals near river

At least nine people have died and eight others are missing after a flash flood swept away members of a church congregation, rescue officials said.

The devastating floods happened along the Jukskei River in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday with the dead and missing all part of the same congregation.

They were conducting religious rituals along the shallow river at the time, it's understood.

Rescue workers reported finding the bodies of two victims that day and another seven bodies when the search and recovery mission resumed this morning.

The teams were interviewing people from the congregation to establish how many others were unaccounted for.

At least nine people have died while eight others are still missing (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

Religious groups frequently gather along the Jukskei River, which runs past townships such as Alexandra in the east of Johannesburg, for baptisms and ritual cleansing.

Local reports say that around 33 worshippers were taking part in the rituals on the river banks.

Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said that officials had warned residents about the dangers of conducting the rituals along the river.

It's thought the churchgoers were conducting religious rituals along the river at the time (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

"We have been receiving a lot of rain on the city of Johannesburg in the last three months, and most of the river streams are now full.

Our residents, especially congregants who normally practice these kinds of rituals, will be tempted to go to these river streams," Mulaudzi said during a news briefing.

"Our message for them is to exercise caution as and when they conduct these rituals," he added.

The Jukskei river also flooded back in November 2016, with hundreds of makeshift homes swept away in the township of Alexandria.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.