It is every parent’s worst nightmare – to hold on to the tiniest hope that your missing child will be found alive, only to be called in to identify their body.
For the Magadla family of Soweto, yesterday will remain a nightmare that will forever stay etched in their minds, and a tragedy they will live with for the rest of their lives after the body of their missing six-year-old son, Khayalethu Magadla, was finally found trapped in a sewer pipe.
Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Nana Radebe-Kgiba said Khayalethu was found in the splitter chamber on the first manhole towards the sump near the Olifantsvlei Cemetery.
Joburg emergency workers had been searching for the boy since he fell into an open sewer manhole in Dlamini while playing with friends at a park on June 12.
Yesterday afternoon, Khayalethu’s father, Lawrence Magadla, cried hysterically after identifying the lifeless body of his son at the split chamber where it was recovered.
He was consoled by family and friends who had gathered to support the grief-stricken family.
Speaking to Sunday World at the recovery site, Magadla said he was broken that his child was found in such a state.
“I am broken to pieces that I had to come here to identify the body of my child, and this is heart breaking. After being told about the clothes the child was wearing, I knew it was my son.
“At the time he fell into the manhole, he was wearing the clothes that matched the description I was told about,” Magadla said.
“This is the saddest day of my life and my wife is not taking the news well. I had to leave her at home as she was crying after being told that our son had been found,” he said.
Magadla said his son was wearing a navy-blue hoodie with matching tracksuit pants and black sneakers when he was found. He added that is sad closure for him and his family as he now knows that he can bury his child with dignity.
The sad discovery brought to an end a nearly three-week search by a multi-disciplinary search and recovery team comprising 35 EMS officials, hazmat and urban search technicians, water unit, K-9 unit, air wing, Delta Scan, ambulances from the Gauteng province and 60 members of Joburg Water.
“We send our deepest condolences to the family in this time of difficulty and hope they find closure now that Khayalethu has been found,” Radebe-Kgiba said in a statement.
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