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Jukskei river.JPG
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Jukskei river.JPG
REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
World News

Flash flood kills at least 9 churchgoers during river baptism in South Africa

by Tola Mbakwe

A South African church congregation is mourning the deaths of at least nine people after a flash flood swept them away during a river baptism. 

According to rescue officials in Johannesburg, eight people are still missing in the river. Two bodies were found in Jukskei River on Saturday and another seven were rescued on Sunday morning. 

Officials are still trying to determine the number of people who are unaccounted for. 

According to BBC News, an eyewitness said the 30 person congregation were standing on rocks in the river on Saturday when rushing water washed some of them away.  

The pastor was reportedly saved after he held onto a tree branch. 

Johannesburg Emergency Services said it has warned locals many times about the dangers of doing baptism in the river. 

Spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said on Sunday: "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.

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

Jukskei River is one of the largest rivers in Johannesburg. 

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