Rescuers hope to find missing boy's body at sewer split chamber

'Our greatest chance of recovering his body lies here'

Emergency rescue workers during the search of Khayalethu Magadla, 6, in Soweto.
Emergency rescue workers during the search of Khayalethu Magadla, 6, in Soweto.
Image: Antonio Muchave

A search for six-year-old Khayalethu Magadla has reached its third day on Wednesday as officials probe a sewer split chamber in Klipspruit that could be the last hope for rescuers to find the little boy.

Khayalethu fell into an open manhole on Sunday while playing with friends at a popular park on Mtambo street in Dlamini and he has been missing since.

While chances of finding him alive were said to be slim, police divers, rescuers, paramedics as well as municipal workers have been hard at work to try to find him.

The chamber situated near the Avaton Cemetery is the central point where all sewage as well as debris flows to. There officials were hopeful that they would make progress.

Johannesburg Water officials used a jet vacuuming truck to suck out any debris and pick up any large objects. 

A drone was used to survey land at a nearby river. This device fed live visuals to an operator, who would pick up on any items or objects resembling a human figure.

Johannesburg Emergency Service spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the area was possibly the last place the boy’s body might be recovered.

“Before the water gets into the plant, there is a net that sifts all the debris and that is what they are sucking out. If we cannot find him here at the chamber, we will move towards the net,” he said.

“Because all the sewer water flows here, our greatest chance of recovering his body lies here.”

Malaudzi said in the event that the Khayalethu’s body is not recovered, teams would have to head back to the drawing board and revisit all the places they have searched before including where he fell.

“The promise that we would find the boy’s body will be fulfilled. If it needs be, we will revisit all the other manholes again.”

Back at the Eco park in Dlamini street about 10km away where Khayalethu fell, residents have been camping there monitoring any children coming to play as the manholes remained open.

Children below the age of 12 were being turned away by concerned residents who said they were no longer comfortable with children playing there.

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