Jukskei River drowning: 7 more bodies of churchgoers recovered

Two people drowned while being baptised in the river, with at least 15 church members initially reported to have been swept away by the flash floods.

Search & rescue personnel on scene on 4 December 2022 after the Jukskei River floods claimed the lives of a number of people during a baptism ceremony on 3 December 2022. Picture: @ER24EMS/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Seven more bodies have been found in the Jukskei River where churchgoers were swept away by flash floods on Saturday - bringing the death toll to nine.

This was confirmed by the Sandton Fire Station, as rescue teams continue to scour the long stretch of the river in Bramley Park in search for more bodies believed to be missing.

Two people drowned while being baptised in the river, with at least 15 church members initially reported to have been swept away by the flash floods.

It's understood the congregants were conducting the baptism ritual in the river.

READ: Two people drown during baptism, 15 believed missing

Investigations are continuing and rescue teams are expected to search throughout Sunday, after calling off the search on Saturday night.

"So far we will continue with the search to see whether we can be able to recover more bodies," said Johannesburg Emergency Services (EMS) Robert Mulaudzi.

"Maybe the message to our residents out there is to be cautious as and when they conduct these kind of rituals to make sure they exercise caution, they do it in a safe place, and ensure that the safety measures are considered so that we can be able to prevent incidents like these."

Meanwhile, the families of the missing people were at the Sandton Fire Department to identify the seven bodies that were found on Sunday.

It is alleged that the pastor of the church service was one of the few people that survived.

Rescue teams are expected to continue their search for the other missing congregants.