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PICS: SANDF roped in to help search for girl, 8, swept away by floods

The damaged vehicles left by the owners during the fateful night. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

The damaged vehicles left by the owners during the fateful night. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

Published Jun 7, 2022

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Durban - A Reservoir Hills family is still waiting along the banks of a river in the hope of finding their 8-year-old girl who was swept away during the floods on April 12.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was asked by the Duka family from a Reservoir Hills informal settlement to help them search after they exhausted all means of finding their little girl.

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The vehicles is been pulled out of the rabbles and mud inside the river by an excavator. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

The SANDF said that the family had been camping along the river hoping and praying to find their princess.

SANDF Captain Tshegofatso Gwai said the SANDF brought the excavator and manoeuvred through rubble in the lightly flowing river.

Councillor Alicia Kisson of ward 23 in eThekwini Municipality shares the story with Captain Khumalo. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

“The family suspected that the little girl could be underneath a white bakkie trapped by muddy sand in the river as it was the last contact point during that fateful night,” Gwai said.

Narrating, the little girl’s aunt said that “the raving floods rifted our shack, while we were desperately running out and calling for help, some family members escaped. The little girl was holding on to the end of the stick and the powerful floods took her,”she said pointing out to where the white bakkie is stranded.

Sapper Moroka manoeuvring through rabbles to reach the white bakkie. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

“We lost everything, our identity documents, our furniture,” she said.

Gwai said that even though the girl’s body was not found at the last contact point, the Duka family was thankful that the soldiers helped.

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“It took our courageous men and women in uniform to give a grieving family closure. As painful as it was to watch, the brave soldiers spent June 3, 2022, giving support and hope to the hopeless,” Gwai said.

Captain Khumalo addresses the mother of the little girl and the aunt. Picture: Corporal Lorraine Choma.

Troop commander Captain Khumalo who was leading the team of Sappers was in constant communication with ward 23 eThekwini Municipality councillor, Alicia Kisson.

Kisson said: “Since this incident, I have been praying for the mother every day, it is a painful story that I cannot wish to happen to any mother.”

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