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South Hadley Rescue Crews Continue Looking for Missing 5-Year-Old Girl in CT River

photo(105)SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WGGB) –It’s unusual for Gail Hutchinson to hear any noise in her South Hadley neighborhood after 9 o’clock. That changed at around 9:30 on Saturday night, when South Hadley police and fire, Holyoke police and fire, and state troopers swarmed the CT river looking for a 5-year-old girl who went missing in the water, who was believed to have fallen into the river from a home on Cove Island Rd. “My prayers are with this family right now, it’s just…really, to heart that you just hope everything’s ok. You hope everything turns out ok and that’s all,” she said.

Sunday morning parts of Cove Island Road were blocked off, with eerie silence broken only by the sound of crews combing the water, desperately searching for the little girl.

The Northwestern DA’s office says information gathered at the scene revealed that the five-year-old girl was the youngest member of a California family that had arrived in town for an extended family gathering.

The family had gathered at a house on Cove Island Road Friday evening to watch a local fireworks display.

An eyewitness reports seeing the five-year-old girl walking on a dock and then falling through a space between the end of the dock and a moored boat.

Several adults dove into the river immediately in an attempt to save her, but the girl couldn’t be located.  The State Police Dive Team reports that due to recent rains, the Connecticut River’s current is stronger and faster than normal.
According to authorities, the girl is presumed to be dead.

As soon neighbors realized what was going on, they didn’t think twice about their own safety, and got into the river to help. “I took a small boat over to that area where a lot of things end up and hoping I could see something, but at this point, it would have to be on the surface for me to be able to see it. I scoured the area on the Holyoke side for a couple hours and didn’t see anything,”

The water’s rough and murky conditions didn’t help Bartoz, even though he was on the river before first responders.

Crews called the search off at 3:30 this afternoon… because of weather and water concerns.

Local authorities will continue searching Monday, while the state police underwater recovery unit will rejoin them Tuesday.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • liftingonhigh1

    God, continued pathetic responses from cyber bullies that weren’t there. Her parents were there.. right there. It was an unfortunate accident.
    how about praying for them and the family to make it through this. I can’t imagine the.pain and suffering.
    I think they have beaten themselves up enough and will continue to do so enough that they don’t need the media and cyber bullies making it worse.

  • liftingonhigh1

    They did go in after her stupid. see, this is the problem. People talking crap when they dontdon’t know crap!

  • liftingonhigh1

    She wasn’t kidnapped, she was with the family!!!!! GOD idiocy is rampant!

  • liftingonhigh1

    Stupid trollers. you just wait Idiot.
    They were right there and tried to save her. and if ur kid is as dumb as u, I would come near it with a ten ft poll. So no worries on that one.

  • liftingonhigh1

    Typical east coast liberal morons.

  • liftingonhigh1

    Wait for Richard to go Postal in 3, 2, 1…. after all he works for the post office.

  • liftingonhigh1

    Cue Mel gibson and the Consperacy Nuts.. God almighty.

  • my3boys

    930 at night hmm some parents do go to bed early

  • liftingonhigh1

    go to bed kiddo.. you’re outta your league. by the way it’s ‘you’re an idiot’.. idiot.

  • jai0415

    If you don’t know the story then I think you should just pay your respects to the family and not say a word about bad parenting. The parent did jump in and try to save her but couldn’t find her. She ran out onto the dock after the parent ran after saying wait for me. It takes a second for an ACCIDENT to happen. This poor family is suffering a huge loss when they were just here visiting family not even close to home. Its a big weekend that people get together and spend time with their family, as for going to bed early this girl was spending her time visiting relatives. Even the news doesn’t have all the information yet. So before anyone goes running their mouth know the story. My heart and prayers go out to the family and the rescuers searching for her. My heart breaks for this little girl and I hope they find her soon.

  • DG

    @jai0415 – thank you very much for your reply. I’ve been reading the comments here today and have been absolutely floored by the judgments people have voiced without having the full story. I used to be a part of this family, and my adult children were present at the time this happened. These are good people who did everything right. There was no neglect. The little girl jumped out of the car and ran to the dock while several people tried to catch her. She tried to jump onto a pontoon boat which was moored there but missed. Her uncle did jump into the water immediately. They did call for help. They actively worked all night on shore and on the water with the rescuers trying to find her, and have continued all day today. This was the case of a 5 year old acting like a 5 year old – a spontaneous action which resulted in a horrific accident that no one was responsible for or could’ve foreseen or prevented. I cannot imagine how it must feel to fly across the country for a family reunion/vacation, only to return without your baby. They need your compassion and prayers, not your criticisms. Hug your loved ones a little tighter and thank God this didn’t happen to your family today.

  • letsthinkaboutthis

    Just saying–if she was 5 she should not have been able to “jump out of a car”. By law, she should have been in a car seat or booster seat (which an adult should have unbuckled her from). Not to mention, a 5 year old should understand that some situations (like crossing a street or being near a body of water) can hold a real element of danger. If you hold an adults hand when you cross the street, you should probably also hold one while getting on a boat. It’s very sad that a fun vacation ended tragically for this family, but the bottom line is that it could have been prevented. I’m sure they did all they could after the fact, but after the fact is not always enough. That being said, I am very sad for this family and do hope that by some miracle she will be found alive.

    • DG

      This was a horrific accident. Unfortunately, 5 year olds do not think things through. She was excited to go and watch fireworks on a boat while on vacation with her family. I do not know a normal healthy 5 year old who cannot unbuckle their car seat and open the car door. As parents, we wish we could control everything, but we can’t. And as much as we wish things were different, they aren’t. Bottom line – she didn’t think, she acted. That’s what kids do sometimes. Respectfully, you were not there and do not know, so please – stop! Nothing good can come from hurtful comments. These people are hurting in ways hopefully neither of us will ever experience.

  • my3boys

    @liftingonhigh1 if your saying that to me I’m not a kiddo and really some people do go to bed early even so how do you think those parents feel kids are quick i know i got 3 also to the one who’s user name is letsthinkboutthis where does it ever say they were in a car did i miss that part read the article again add for the family i hope you’re little is ok and i being a parent would go crazy i pray for her safe return

  • my3boys

    @DG,Sunday i agree with you and i feel so bad for the family i hated when people would rather put the parents down i don’t know any normal 5 year old that’s not quick to take off they don’t know the harm o’er understand at that young age, all they see if fun!! If it was these orioles child it be a whole didn’t tone NY prayers are w your friends