JOHANNESBURG – Johannesburg emergency management services (EMS) who went on a search-and-recovery operation at the Jukskei River on Tuesday said that they feared their resources would be stretched thin.
This comes as more heavy downpours are expected in parts of Gauteng prompting EMS teams to be on high alert.
EMS teams, together with the police and specialist aquatic rescue teams, were dispatched to the Jukskei and the Sand River to recover the bodies of a group of congregants who drowned during a baptism at the weekend.
At least three people are missing or presumed dead.
Two teams of rescuers were scouring the Jukskei and the Sand River since Tuesday morning, navigating the strong currents and the large rocks.
“The first team, it’s along 8th Avenue and the other one is at 12th Avenue. After they’re done there, they’ll move towards the N1. We’re just making sure that we’re clearing up the whole stream. We came there to update our residents that we have not yet recovered anybody at this stage. Maybe, hopefully, by the end of the day we might have positive feedback,” said the EMS’ Johannesburg spokesperson, Robert Mulaudzi.
Mulaudzi said divers were also in a race against time, with the threat of heavy rains making an already difficult rescue task more urgent.
“We are told that we might have a storm again this afternoon [Tuesday], which might hamper our operations. So, we’re hoping that by the time the storm calms down, we could have covered a lot of ground.”
EMS staff, who already had their hands full, said they would prioritise areas that are still reeling from Monday’s heavy downpours.