Monday, March 7, 2011

Creek search for girl now in 'recovery' mode

Creek search for girl now in 'recovery' mode

Emergency crews gather near the spot where a 10-year-old girl slipped into a creek near Melbourne, Ont., which is 25 kilometres southwest of London, Ont.

Emergency crews working near London, Ont., are now in a "recovery mode" in their search for a girl who fell into a frigid tributary of the Thames River on Saturday.

"At this point in time, with the time frame that's passed, we are in a search-and-recovery mode now," OPP Const. Chris Hunter told CBC News on Sunday. "We still always hold out some optimism, but it's been a long time."

The eight-year-old girl, who was identified by police late Sunday as Kayla Maybee of Southwest Middlesex, was playing with two other girls when she slipped and fell into a fast-flowing and rain swollen Gentleman's Creek near Melbourne at about 10:42 a.m. Saturday. The two other girls, who were unharmed, ran to a nearby residence to get help.

The OPP said the banks of the creek are very slippery, and the water is about two metres deep where the girl fell in.

Over the weekend, a Facebook page was set up asking people to "pray for Kayla Maybee," a Grade 3 student at Echo Public School in nearby Glencoe, Ont.

Melbourne is about 25 kilometres southwest of London.

The creek is running high because of Saturday's heavy rain and melting snow.

Police divers searched the freezing waters Saturday before calling off the search before dark.

They resumed their search Sunday, but search conditions continued to be difficult after snow and temperatures fell overnight.

An OPP helicopter on Sunday joined the search, which continued until dark without finding her body. The search will resume at 9 a.m. on Monday. The girl was last seen wearing a light blue raincoat with frogs on it. She is described as four feet five inches, weighing 71 pounds with shoulder length brown hair.

Meanwhile, the local school board has called in its trauma team to help children and staff deal with the situation.

Authorities are warning the public to stay away from all creeks and rivers in the province because the banks are slippery and the water is extremely cold.