WATCH | Jukskei River baptism drownings: Baby among three still missing

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  • An infant is among three people still missing after flash floods swept congregants during a baptism ceremony in the Jukskei River on Saturday evening in Alexandra. 
  • The Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services resumed the search on Tuesday, but no more bodies were found. 
  • Only 14 bodies have been retrieved. 

A 3-month-old baby is among three people still missing after flash floods swept away congregants during a baptism ceremony in the Jukskei River on Saturday evening in Alexandra. 

On Tuesday morning, the Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services (EMS) widened their search to retrieve the remaining three congregants, but no new bodies were found. 

EMS member Xolile Khumalo said: "Our search and rescue team has been conducting the searches in 8th and 12th Avenue in Sandton and moved down to the N1, and we have not recovered any bodies."

At this stage, the emergency team could not confirm the genders of those missing. However, a 3-month-old baby is said to be among the missing.

Khumalo said she could not be sure how the heavy rains that struck Johannesburg on Monday would impact the search, but said the team would continue to move along the river in hopes of finding more bodies. 

READ | Jukskei River baptism drownings: Pastor of informal 'church' goes to ground

Khumalo had told News24 previously that 14 bodies were retrieved and all but one had been positively identified. 

Congregants were swept away on Saturday during a baptism ceremony in the Jukskei River.

The number of congregants at the baptism was not confirmed but it was alleged that the pastor had been operating an informal church and used the river to perform rituals for people who came to him for consultations.

While it was unclear how the floods swept away such a large group of people, Khumalo alleged that on the day of the drownings the pastor had not taken one person at a time for baptism but had them all in the river at the same time when the flash floods struck.

"The storm that hit that day was very hard," she said.

Khumalo cautioned church goers to avoid the river or the stream during this time of the year for safety. 

The search for the three continues.

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