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Search for missing Diepsloot girl declared a ‘recovery operation’

Four children trying to cross a low lying area during the heavy rains on Thursday were swept away.

Six-year-old Angel Sibanda was last seen trying to cross this stream. Picture: Ziyanda Ngcobo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Police say the search for a missing primary school child, who was swept away in a flash flood in Diepsloot, has now been declared a 'recovery operation' and is no longer a 'rescue mission'.

Four children trying to cross a low lying area during the heavy rains on Thursday were swept away.

Emergency services managed to rescue three of the children, but a six-year-old girl is still missing.

The police's Daniel Mavimbela says the search for the little girl will stretch to the Jukskei River.

"We are on the scene continuing with the search. We have members of the South African Police Service's water wing. We have our dog unit. We also have the Aquatic Rescue Unit from the City of Johannesburg."

Yesterday, dozens of Diepsloot residents gathered at the scene where Angel Sibanda vanished after being swept away by flash floods.

A concerned Diepsloot resident said he was desperate to help.

"If it is safe for us to help as a community, we'll go in and help. We are waiting for the rescue guys to need us."

Sibanda's family made a plea to the Diepsloot community to come forward with any information about her whereabouts.

An emotional prayer service was conducted by the community who are hoping for her safe return.

Sibanda has been described by her family as a loving and sweet child.

Family representative, Lakheli Tshuma, says the family has been struggling to cope with her disappearance.

"All we have been told is that she was last seen leaving the school, but we don't know what happened after that."

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