Cape Town - Thirteen people died when their church building collapsed during a Passover service at the Pentecostal Church in Dlangubo on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.
The cause of the collapse is believed to be the heavy rainfall which has plagued the region, according to Jonty Ndlazi from the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Disaster Management Centre. The details around the incident are still sketchy.
“The roof of the building collapsed because of heavy rains last night … at this point we have a total of 13 fatalities,” said Lennox Mabaso, spokesman for the provincial traditional affairs department.
“Such a tragedy. 13 fatalities and 16 people treated by paramedics,” tweeted Robert McKenzie, spokesman for Kwa-Zulu-Natal's emergency services.
The Zululand Observer reported that 29 patients were treated at the scene and transported to Ngwelezana Hospital for further treatment.
K9 units also searched the rubble for more survivors.
Members of the disaster management team will accompany Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube on a visit to the site of the tragedy in uMhlathuze Municipality on Good Friday morning. The municipality is located within the King Cetshwayo District of northern KZN.
The team will assess the situation in order to devise a plan to deal with the tragedy and pay their respects to the families of the victims.
The DA in the province has sent their condolences to the bereaved families and urged "those who will be travelling to further away places for Good Friday service, to be vigilant on the road ensuring a safe return to their respective homes".
KwaZulu-Natal police had not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.
* This is a developing story.