A search is under way for a young woman aged 18 and a young man aged 21 who were washed away during a cleansing ritual along the Kliprivier stream in Olifantsvlei, south of Johannesburg.
The City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services Aquatic Rescue Unit and the SAPS Water Wing are trying to recover the bodies of the two people, who are feared to be dead.
The incident happened on Saturday and the traditional healer who was leading the ceremony managed to get out of the stream unscathed.
Rescuers were called in and had searched throughout Sunday until the search was called off.
The search resumed this morning. Families and loved ones are also expected to be on the scene.
[JUST IN] The City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services Aquatic Rescue Unit together with Saps Water Wing are currently searching for two bodies washed away during a Cleansing ritual (an 18-year-old girl and a 21-year-old boy).#TheStarNewspaper pic.twitter.com/0xNn15rKQp— The Star (@TheStar_news) November 20, 2023
“Residents are urged to continue to be cautious as in conducting these cleansing or baptism rituals to ensure that all the congregants are safe when conducting rituals so that we can be able to prevent incidents like this one,” City of Joburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said.
Just last week, rescue teams also recovered the body of a young man, aged 18, who slipped and fell into a steam in Kliptown, south of Johannesburg.
The search also took two days. EMS also cautioned parents and loved ones to always know the whereabouts of their children, and safeguard them when entering streams or swimming pools.
Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has issued a warning of extremely hot temperatures in most parts of Johannesburg from today until Friday.
Residents are urged to exercise caution when conducting daily activities, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, avoid direct sunlight especially between 11am and 3pm, and take regular breaks when working directly in the sunlight, as exposure to these extremely hot temperatures can cause heat exhaustion and heat cramps, which might lead to heatstroke.