Father 'tried for dear life' to rescue daughter missing after Joburg floods

2016-11-11 09:41

Johannesburg - The family of the 3-year-old girl who was swept away by the flooded Jukskei River in Alexandra said they were going through tremendous heartache. 

Richard Makondo, speaking on behalf of the family, said they were finding it hard to face reality. 

He said the father, Shadrick Chauke, his wife and their daughter Everite, were in their shack on Wednesday afternoon when it started raining. When water began filling the dwelling, which is near the river, they climbed a tree.

Chauke held on to his daughter. The mother was on another branch. 

"The branch broke and the child fell into the water. He tried for dear life to try and rescue his child, but she disappeared into the water," Makondo said. 

He jumped into the water, but was forced to swim back without his beloved daughter. 

"When he swam back to the tree where his wife was, he thought she was missing too," Makondo said. 

Fortunately, she was still holding onto the tree. 

Family hoping for body to be found

Johannesburg emergency services and other paramedics were searching for Everite along the banks of the Jukskei on Thursday.

"Our only hope now is to find the body of my niece. The family will only rest then. We are fighting for the body to be recovered," Makondo said.

Chauke looked confused as paramedics led him out of a first aid station in a shipping container, which had been brought to the area, to a waiting ambulance. His wife had a scarf over her head. Both were taken to hospital on Thursday afternoon.

Makondo pointed at the children running around where Gift of the Givers was handing out food parcels.

"It's ok, we understand. God came and took one, but the rest are still ok," he said.

Jonas Yamabele, 73, who said he had been living in Alexandra since 1971, said he lost all his belongings. 

Yamabele was in Ivory Park when the flash floods hit Alexandra. He only received a call from a relative informing him of what had happened at 01:00 on Thursday morning. 

"When I arrived, I found nothing and no one was here. I lost everything."

"I am feeling bad, very bad because no one has a place to stay. We are 42 family members," Yamabele said.

The search for the missing child continued on Friday morning. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  floods

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