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A Search, rescue and recovery operation is continuing on the Jukskei River, in the Sandton vicinity, where at least 18 people, part of a group from various churches who were taking part at a baptism, may have been swept away in flash floods.

NSRI Gauteng were alerted by Netcare 911 ambulance services at around 16h30, Saturday, 3 December.

NSRI Gauteng, City of Johannesburg EMS, Gauteng Government Health EMS, Johannesburg Fire and Rescue Services from Sandton Fire Station, CPF Security, SA Police Services, Police divers and Police K9 Search and Rescue responded to muster at Arkwright Avenue where a search commenced for what was believed to be 18 missing persons washed away by the fast flowing Jukskei River.

STATION 27 Gauteng, STATION 22 Vaal Dam, STATION 25 Hartbeespoort Dam, STATION 35 Witbank volunteers conduct a search at the Jukskei River

During an initial search Fire and Rescue Services located a female where NSRI rescue swimmers and Police divers recovered the body of the adult female on a sandbank in the Jukskei River at the Grayston Drive Bridge on Katherine Street.

An adult female was recovered by Fire and Rescue Services officers near to Arkwright Avenue and she was transported to hospital by ambulance in a stable condition suffering hypothermia.

NSRI were notified that emergency services had located and recovered the body of a female teenager and the body had been taken into the care of Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.

A Fidelity Security helicopter, with thermal imaging sensors, joined in the search

During the night church groups were attempting to determine who from their parishes remained missing.

On Sunday morning NSRI Vaal Dam and NSRI Hartbeespoort Dam joined NSRI Gauteng, Johannesburg Fire and Rescue Services, Gauteng Government Health EMS, City of Johannesburg EMS, SA Police Services, Police divers, Police K9 Search and Rescue, SARSA (Search and Rescue South Africa) and CPF Security in the ongoing search.

During Sunday, in challenging conditions, sadly 12 bodies were located and recovered. Near to Witkoppen Road, Rivonia - an adult female, near to Kramerville, Sandton - two adult males, near to the corners of Grayston Drive and Katherine Street - a male child and a female toddler, near to Morningside Manor, - a female child and two adult females, near to Froom Street, Atholl - an adult female, near to South Road, Rivonia - an adult male, near to Morningside Manor - an adult female and near to The Terraces at 12th Avenue, Alexandra - an adult female.

This brings to total of 14 bodies recovered and one person transported to hospital and who is expected to make a full recovery.

It has not been ruled out that one or more cases may not be related to the church baptism and may be from isolated incidents that had not been reported. Investigations are continuing.

Our thoughts are with the families of those that remain missing and Condolences are conveyed to the families of the deceased.

On Sunday afternoon NSRI Witbank has joined in the ongoing search.

Bodies of the deceased are being taken into the care of Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.

NSRI, Police and the emergency services are continuing in an ongoing search.

NSRI commend the tireless efforts of all rescue services and support services involved in the search, rescue and recovery operation.

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