Missing girl’s body found in swollen river

2013-10-31 00:00

RESIDENTS in the Hlazane area yesterday found the body of one of two girls who were swept away the previous day by the swollen Phongola River in Umhla­buyalingana, in the far north of the province.

The latest deaths came as the the province is still mourning the deaths of at least 10 people, including children, following rainstorms that wreaked havoc last weekend.

By late yesterday afternoon, the search for the second girl was still under way.

Ward councillor Johnson Gwala said the girls, Fezile Mabika (9), and Nelisiwe Gumede (14), were among a group of six girls from nearby Hlazane Primary School who were collecting sugar cane when they were swept away by the river.

He said he was told the girls were running from the owner of the farm when five of them jumped into the river, while one remained behind as she couldn’t swim.

“She screamed for help when she saw the other girls disappear, and a passer-by only managed to save three, lest he drowned himself,” he said.

Gwala said local people had camped on the river banks overnight, waiting for police divers to search for the girls’bodies.

The weather office is forecasting further spells of heavy rain well into the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Education Department expressed its condolences to the bereaved families.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, teachers and fellow learners during this difficult time,” said acting head of department Edward Mosuwe.

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