Dad still hoping son will be found in river

Eight hours after his son had presumably disappeared in the Klip River in Eldorado Park, a father was refusing to give up hope.

Leon Neathling late last night stood metres from the river as search and rescue divers combed the murky waters for nine-year-old Gregory.

Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS) personnel, together with SAPS divers and rescue dogs, were scouring the river and its banks, after they had received the call just before 6pm. But at 11pm, rescuers called off the search. They were due to resume the search at 7am today.

JEMS spokesperson Nana Radebe said the murky, polluted water was making it difficult for the divers to manoeuvre. "The river is littered with plastic and other rubbish, which makes the search operation a bit of challenge," she said.

Radebe said JEMS and SAPS personnel had started the search around 6.30pm.

Neathling said boys had told him that his son was pushed into the river by a friend.

"They had been playing at the park and later decided to take a walk down to the river, where it all happened at about 4.30pm," he said.

Neathling had last seen his son at 2pm at their house, where he had watched TV before heading off to play.

Standing among supportive community members and friends earlier in the evening, Neathling's eyes were fixed on the riverbank, where divers and sniffer dogs were at work.

"I am not going to lose hope. I will stand here until they find my boy.

"My son is supposed to be in bed sleeping and going to school tomorrow," said Neathling.

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