Rescuers ‘fearing the worst’ as robots deployed in search of missing boy


Search and rescue efforts to find the missing Soweto child, Khayalethu Magadla, 6, are going into overdrive as rescue teams prepare to deploy robots underground.

Khaya fell into a manhole while playing near a park in Dlamini on Sunday. Johannesburg emergency services department (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said rescuers will intensify the search for the boy.

READ MORE: WATCH: Search STILL on for the boy who fell into ‘open manhole’

Rescue operation into day five

“Rescue teams continued with the search this morning. The rescuers will return to the section where the young man fell along the pipeline. Our colleagues from Joburg Water will also continue to clean up the split chamber.

“Search operation teams will deploy robots to give us a 360 view along the pipeline. Should they detect something, we will send technicians underground to recover the boy. As it stands, however, we cannot confirm that the child is deceased.

“[Johannesburg EMS] will confirm it only when we see it. But the chances of us finding him alive are very slim because of the number of days which have passed. But, as it stands, we cannot confirm as we have not seen him.”

Johannesburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi

Joburg Water spokesperson Seipati Nyawuza said technicians will go into the second section of the pipeline using an external air supply system. Another team of rescuers will place a robot with a camera underwater to navigate the pipeline.

Rescuers Rescue
Search and rescue teams launch full-scale operation in search for Khayalethu Magadla, 6, in Dlamini, Soweto on 17 June. Photo: Joburg Water

“The robot will float along the pipeline and on the surface. The camera will give rescue teams a 360 view of what is happening underground. Joburg Water will communicate further updates on developments of the search.”

Joburg Water spokesperson Seipati Nyawuza

There is no waiting period to report a missing person. Report all missing persons at your nearest police station immediately.

Search for missing Free State girl, 4, intensifies

A four-year-old girl from Thabong, Free State, is still missing despite increased rescue operations by police, residents, and the SAPS Airwing. The family reported little Hlonolofatso Ntherisi missing on 5 March.

Hlonolofatso was wearing a black t-shirt and black tights with no shoes on the day that she went missing, according to police spokesperson captain Stephen Thakeng.

“It is reported by the child’s grandmother that Hlonolofatso came home on 5 March 2022 at about 17:45 to eat with her friends. The children then went out to play after eating.

“Hlonolofatso never returned home, and the grandmother launched a search after realising that she was missing. The search was unsuccessful, and police were notified.”

Free State police spokesperson captain Stephen Thakeng

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