South Africa

KZN floods latest: Police officer and K9 drown during rescue efforts

A female police diver and a K9 have drowned during rescue efforts in the Msunduzi River in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

The police was attached to the Pietermaritzburg Search and Rescue (SAR) police diving unit.


According to police at about 11:30 on Sunday morning, 42-year-old Sergeant Busisiswe Mjwara was conducting a search in the Msunduzi River for three victims that had drowned earlier in the week when she got into difficulty and drowned.

Mjwara was airlifted to a nearby hospital but was sadly declared dead on arrival. During the same operation, K9 Leah from the Durban Central Search and Rescue (SAR) unit also drowned.

According to reports, Leah was attempting to assist Sergeant Mjwara when she also experienced difficulties.

The third member, 31-year-old Constable Thandazile Sithole who was attached to the Durban Central Police Station, died when her home collapsed on her earlier this week.

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At least thirty police officers in KZN have been affected by the floods with some injured and the majority displaced after their homes were washed away.

K9 Leah who also died during search and rescue efforts in Msunduzi River. Photo: SAPS

National Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola said the organisation has been dealt a blow with the passing on of its dedicated members.

Masemola said the members died heroines, putting their country first.

“A speedy recovery to those who have been injured as well as those who have lost their homes and belongings. As management we will be looking into the immediate needs of all affected and see how best we can remedy the situation.

“I also wish to thank members of the SAPS for upholding and enforcing the law during these challenging times as well as pay gratitude to those who remain at the forefront of the search and rescue operations.”

Fannie Masemola

The death toll currently sits at 443 and 63 people have officially been reported missing.

ALSO READ: Crocodile spotted in KZN beach after 12 were rescued (watch)

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