KZN floods: 'We are going to die' - daughter's last words to dad before being swept away

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  • Bhekuyise Mdladla lost at least two family members during the floods on Monday night.
  • The bodies of an uncle and one grandchild were recovered, while his daughter and her child are still missing.
  • Search and rescue operations in the province are ongoing.   

"We are going to die."

These were the last words Bhekuyise Mdladla heard his daughter Zuziwe scream before she was swept away by the floods that ravaged parts of KwaZulu-Natal. 

"I woke up at night and checked outside, but I didn't think anything like this would happen, so I went back to bed. I was woken up by my daughter screaming, 'we are going to die', then I got up and stood. The next thing I remember is a rock piercing through my window, and the water came in and turned me upside down.

"As the water started taking me, I started praying because I thought I was going to die. The roof caved in on me, and just when I thought I was going to die, I saw light from outside, and I crawled through a hole and got out," said Mdladla. 

He was one of the people rescued by paramedics and an SANDF helicopter from KwaNgcolosi, near Inanda, on Thursday and taken to Virginia airport, where he was transported to hospital by ambulance.

The area is inaccessible by car.

ANALYSIS | With climate change causing severe weather, KZN floods may just be the beginning

The airport was being used as a base for joint search and rescue operations by SAPS, SANDF and ambulance services. 

Mdladla's uncle, Samkelo Machi, and his grandchild Khanyi Kubeka's bodies were recovered near his home, while his daughter Zuziwe and her seven-month-old child are still missing.

Mdladla hoped their bodies would be found soon.

"The floods took everything in our community. We have no water and no electricity. The houses are gone, and people are dead. Four of my family members are dead, and of the, two of their bodies are yet to be found," he said, adding the clothes on his back were all that he had left. 

Sipho Mkhize, who was also rescued from KwaNgcolosi, could not hold back tears as he saw his mother, sister and brother, who were also rescued, for the first time since the floods struck on Monday night. 

READ MORE | The level of devastation is unprecedented, says KZN premier as floods death toll rises to 341

"When the floods hit, we were all separated. This is the first time I am seeing my family since Monday," said an emotional Mkhize. 

Mkhize and his siblings spent nearly five hours on what was left of the roof of their home, waiting for the rain to stop. They sought refuge with neighbours who weren't as badly affected. He vividly recalled saving a boy from his neighbourhood while on the roof. 

He said:

I saw the floods sweep him from his house, which is above us, all the way down to our door. I was able to drag him onto the roof, and we all waited together at the neighbour's house until today.

Mkhize and his family were treated and transported by KZN Emergency Medical Services.

Spokesperson Robert Mckenzie said: "We treated patients that were brought in from isolated areas. Fortunately, they were in a stable condition and just needed to be evacuated from the isolated areas they were in. We treated them here and have since been taken to hospital," he said. 

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