Search continues for girl missing in the Assiniboine River 0
Portage la Prairie RCMP are continuing their search Sunday for an 11-year-old girl who went missing in the Assiniboine River Saturday evening and is believed to be drowned.
Portage Emergency Services along with other first responders were initially called to the search for a missing girl near the Poplar Point area when they received the call Saturday at about 8 p.m.
Portage Emergency Services, along with Cartier and St. Francois Xavier fire departments responded.
Portage RCMP report that their initial investigation indicated that a group of children had been swimming Saturday when one became distressed and went under the water.
"There was a group of people swimming and one of them went into the water, and came into distress," said Corp Miles Hiebert, with RCMP D Division, in an interview with The Daily Graphic Sunday. "She hasn't been recovered. We can still hope she will be located somewhere safely, but at this point our effort is a recovery one."
One of the girls attempted to assist the girl who was in distress, but was unable to, Hiebert confirmed.
Police, emergency services and local residents searched the area for the 11-year-old girl without success Saturday night.
The RCMP underwater Recovery Team were scheduled to attend Sunday to assess the conditions for an underwater search.
"I understand the water is running extremely fast; that is something they need to assess at this time," Hiebert said. "It's high, fast water conditions right now. That is what they need to assess: whether they can access the water to do a recovery operation."
Police continue to investigate.
Poplar Point Colony secretary Rueben Waldner said the missing girl from the colony, who has been identified as Becky Waldner, was with two friends sitting at the dock by the river at the time of the accident.
"It is stressful," he said. "There is nothing you can do. You feel useless."
He said there was a type of tire tube by the river at the time, and one girl decided to climb in it, but the tube started drifting with the current. One of the other girls tried to help her get back to shore but the tube got away.
The tube was found later downstream but the missing girl hasn't been located.
"I'm hoping the boys had mistaken the tube. Hopefully, she held on to the tube. You never know," Waldner said.
As the search continues, Waldner is asking for officials to open the Portage Diversion right away to lower the Assiniboine River water levels to help with the search for Becky.
More details to follow.