Complex pipeline network and high water levels complicated Khaya Magadla search

Rescue workers retrieved Magadla’s body in a waste pipeline near the Eldorado Park Cemetery on Saturday - a devastating end to a painstaking operation that gripped the nation.

EMS looking into a manhole in Klipspruit to search for six-year-old Khaya Magadla who fell in a manhole in Soweto. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Joburg Emergency Services said they faced several challenges while looking for 6-year-old Khayalethu Magadla.

Rescue workers retrieved Magadla’s body in a waste pipeline near the Eldorado Park Cemetery on Saturday - a devastating end to a painstaking operation that gripped the nation.

Khaya had been playing with friends in Dlamini in Soweto last month, when he fell into an uncovered sewer manhole, sparking a complex search operation to try and find him.

The Magadla family anxiously awaited news of their 6-year-old boy, Khaya as pleas increased on social media for authorities to hasten his rescue.

But hopes of finding the young boy alive were dashed after teams searched manhole after manhole for close to three weeks with no sign of the boy.

Acting Chief of Emergency Services, Noma Mjali said the rescue operation was hampered by complicated pipeline network, narrow manholes and high water levels.

"The reason it took so long was because they had to actually go through the water pipes meaning the sewer pipes from where the child fell to where we are today. The water levels were at a very dangerous level, and they could not actually go in as technicians".

The search teams trailed at least 20km of the sewer system from Dlamini to Eldorado park - searching for the little boy.