Home News Masowe church drownings: 14 bodies recovered with search continuing for more bodies

Masowe church drownings: 14 bodies recovered with search continuing for more bodies

Masowe church drownings: 14 bodies recovered with search continuing for more bodies

Pretoria – City of Joburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) has this morning resumed with the search for more bodies of worshippers who were swept away by flash floods in the Jukskei River during a ritual by the Masowe church.

By Monday morning, the death toll had risen to 14, while emergency personnel were scouring the area, led by rescue dogs.

Speaking to SABC, Joburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said on Saturday, one woman was rescued, and two bodies were recovered.

“On Saturday, we recovered two people (bodies), and one lady was rescued. She was taken to the nearest healthcare facility for further medical care, and yesterday between 8 in the morning and around 6 in the evening, we managed to recover about 12 bodies,” said Mulaudzi.

Masowe church drownings: 14 bodies recovered with search continuing for more bodies
At least 14 bodies of congregants have been recovered from the Jukskei River in Joburg after members of the Masowe church were swept by the river during a ritual. Photo: Arrive Alive/Twitter

The twelve bodies recovered on Sunday brought the death toll to 14.

Mulaudzi said there are still families reporting that their loved ones are missing, with concerns that they could have been part of the congregation.

“We still have three families who are still worried about their loved ones. They do not know whether they are also part of the people who might be missing. So we agreed that we will be going back this morning to try and search for the other missing people,” he said.

“The other reason why we are going back is that they (the Masowe church) do not really have a register to say how many people were there.

“Initially, we were told on Saturday that the congregants were about 33 when they were conducting this ritual. When the storm was in progress, there is a lot of people who managed to escape.”

He said there are varied numbers relating to the actual number of congregants who were at the river, so the EMS would be seeking to ascertain the veracity of the figures.

Mulaudzi said the families which were still looking for their loved ones would be assisted.

The Masowe church, although not a single institution, is characterised by white garments for both men and women worshippers, often seen congregating in bushes and open spaces.

Popular in Zimbabwe, the church is also very common across South Africa, with many locals also attending prayer sessions and intercessions.

IOL

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