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Crews Joining South Hadley CT River Search Speak on Dangers


AGAWAM, Mass (WGGB) –For the 3rd straight day, crews combed the Connecticut River in South Hadley for a 5-year-old California girl who disappeared in it Saturday night.

State police helicopters are using special infrared cameras and heat sensors to locate her, but the river’s conditions are only hindering the search. “If you go down to the river and look there’s no visibility. There’s snags, it just a very dangerous situation for what’s in the water right now. Unless someone is floating right on the top, or we can swim, or get to them, we really can’t see them once they go into the water,” said Agawam Deputy Fire Chief B.J. Calvi.

Having taken part in over 200 water searches, Deputy Chief Calvi states that the river’s rough conditions are only hindering any progress.

According to officials, the little girl was walking on a dock, when she slipped in between a space in the dock and a boat.

The current gains even more speed getting closer to the dam.

“There’s also what’s called the hydraulic effect where you can create vortexes, things will spin around. So that’s a very dangerous situation there,” explains Calvi.

When there’s a rescue or recovery to be made, officials choose to put their own lives in jeopardy.

“If we can get the boat in the water, we’ll go out. We’ll go out anytime. Even though it’s dangerous, we’ll go out on the water if we have to be,” Calvi stated.

Deputy Chief Calvi stresses that people shouldn’t even be boating with the river raging like this, and urges them to stay off it until the water recedes.

South Hadley authorities combed the river Monday until about 7:45 p.m.

Tomorrow they’ll be joined by crews from Agawam, Longmeadow, Holyoke, Springfield, and the State Police Underwater Recovery Unit.

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