Provincial police 'scaling back' search for boy, 3, swept away in flooded river
February 26, 2018 - 2:55 PM
Ontario Provincial Police say they will "slowly begin scaling back" their search for a missing three-year-old boy who was swept into a swollen river in southwestern Ontario.
In a release Monday evening, OPP say they will be "continually reassessing" the conditions along the stretch of the Grand River where they've been searching for Kaden Young.
The toddler was in the family van in the early hours of last Wednesday when the vehicle was swallowed up by the fast-moving river.
His mother managed to get the boy out of the van, but lost her grip in the strong current and he was swept downstream.
Fewer volunteers were expected to turn out for the search as the work week resumed.
Provincial police say between 300 and 500 volunteers helped out over the weekend in the search, but they expected only 100 or so to take part on Monday.
Officers were combing the area around Belwood Lake, about 13 kilometres downstream from where the boy disappeared into the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont.
Const. Paul Nancekivell, spokesman for the provincial police's Dufferin detachment, said the work has been challenging due to the damage from last week's flooding, with sheets of floating ice blanketing the water.
"The shoreline has been torn back in several areas — literally rolled back from the ice jamming against the shore. And we have ice chunks up in trees, four or five feet (1.2 or 1.5 metres) up in the air," he said.
Nancekivell said police have been in contact with Kaden's parents daily since the search began.
"It's tough on them. They're keeping a brave face and trying to hold up over this," he said.
"We just want to find this little boy. That's the bottom line."
In addition to the difficulties posed by the icy conditions, Nancekivell said police are also dealing with challenges created by some well-meaning volunteers with drones.
Police have noticed three private drones in the search area, which Nancekivell said interfered with the force's own efforts involving a remote-controlled aircraft.
"It makes it difficult, when we have our drone in the area — plus a helicopter — to worry about three other drones flying around them," he said.
"So that's why we've asked them, 'could they please stay out of the area where we're flying, so we can get our search done.' "
In their statement Monday, police said they "remain committed" to finding Kaden, and "the formal search may reconvene at any time" should new evidence be discovered.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2018