Disappointment as search team finds a rock instead of Khaya Magadla

The search operation has now entered its tenth day and there’s still no sign of the seven-year-old who slipped into an open manhole while playing with friends.

A relative of the missing Khaya Magadla, Derrick Khumalo, kneels down to pray near the manhole on Fuchia Street in Klipspruit West on 22 June 2022. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hopes of finding missing Khaya Magadla were dashed on Wednesday morning when technicians discovered an obstruction in the sewer pipelines was merely a rock.

The search operation has now entered its tenth day and there’s still no sign of the seven-year-old who slipped into an open manhole while playing with friends.

Magadla’s family, who’ve remained hopeful while following the team of rescuers throughout the operation, are beginning to crack.

A relative of the missing boy, Derrick Khumalo, kneels down to pray near the manhole on Fuchia Street in Klipspruit West.

This is where emergency technicians have continued their search, just over three kilometres from where the boy reportedly fell; the search and rescue crew have not given up.

Earlier EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said they had a false alarm.

"Remember, we had that footage of some obstruction then we said we are going to investigate it today. So, early in the morning we started there and we sent technicians along the pipeline. Unfortunately, it was negative, it was a rock."

Traffic has been diverted along the road, which is lined up with curious spectators and emergency vehicles, with dedicated officials sent down one manhole - and then the next - as the efforts to locate the little boy intensify.