Search for Johannesburg worshippers swept by flood; 14 dead

Rescue workers search the waters of the Jukskei river in Johannesburg, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. [AP]

The death toll from the tragic flash flood that swept away members of a church congregation along the Jukskei River in Johannesburg has risen from nine to 14, officials have confirmed.

Rescue teams on Monday resumed search operations for at least three people still missing.

Twelve bodies were recovered on Sunday in addition to the two bodies recovered on Saturday, Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said.

Members of the congregation were participating in rituals along the river when a flash flood swept away several of the worshippers. The riverside services were being conducted near the populous Alexandra township, in eastern Johannesburg.

Some of the bodies, however, were found far downstream on the Jukskei, one of Johannesburg's largest rivers.

Rescue operations were delayed on Monday due to heavy rains.

On Monday, the South African Weather Services warned of continued heavy rainfalls which may lead to more flooding in large parts of the Gauteng province this week. Communities living along the banks of the Jukskei River have been warned to exercise caution.