'She was ready to give up' – KZN man describes how he nearly lost his sister in floods

The aftermath of the mudslides in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal. (Supplied)
The aftermath of the mudslides in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-Natal. (Supplied)

A KwaZulu-Natal man has described how his sister was nearly swept away as flood waters surged into his Chatsworth home.

Kimo Naidoo is grateful to be alive after mudslides engulfed his home on Parkside Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

The father of three was at home with his wife when the rain came down, even harder than the previous day.

"I couldn’t sleep. I kept checking the house," Naidoo said.

WATCH: Raging waterfall pummels Oribi Gorge after KZN downpour

He said it was around 04:00 when he started hearing the door creak.

"At that time, sand was coming down from the hill behind the family home and flooding the yard," he said.

"More mud came down and surrounded the car. We then started moving some items upstairs to try [and] salvage whatever we can."

His sister and her husband had then arrived to assist them and that is when the events seen in the video occurred.

His children had spent the night with their grandparents and were not affected by the floods.

'Her husband pulled her out'

In the video, which has gone viral on social media, gushing muddy floodwater is seen eroding the escarpment behind the houses. The muddy waters then collapsed a small brick wall separating two neighbouring houses. A car that was parked in the driveway is then swept away into the street.

"I heard a sound and saw water coming in through the windows. The sliding door in front started to creak and more water rushed in," Naidoo said. He described the scenes with pain in his voice, as he told News24 how his sister had lost her footing and was taken by the current.

"I grabbed onto the Trellidor to block her with my body. She was ready to give up and said to me: 'Let me go'."

He explained how he prayed constantly as the events unfolded.

"Her husband pulled her out and we managed to get out of the house," he added.

'Thank God my kids weren't there'

Naidoo said they were traumatised by the events, but grateful to have escaped with only cuts and bruises. His wife suffered a deep cut to her shin.

"Thank God my kids weren't there. I'm thankful they did not see what happened.

The family of five, who only have a few pieces of clothing with them, are staying with their grandparents. He said they were hoping to be back in the house they've called home for 12 years in about a month, but they still have to inspect the extent of the damage.

"The water has drained, but you can't live in it. The mud is still waist deep and it is going to need more than shovels to remove it," he said.

Naidoo is a pastor at a local church and had been helping people the night before. He hadn't thought that tragedy would strike his home.

"You see it on the news, but don't think that it will happen to you," he said.

On Thursday morning, KwaZulu-Natal's acting premier Sihle Zikalala announced that the death toll had risen to 70 people.

Mop-up operations and rescue missions are still under way in the province.

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