OPP search for missing three-year-old boy after car submerged in Grand River

February 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Crews are searching the Grand River south of Waldemar near Grand Valley for a missing child after a minivan driven by the child’s mother was swept into the river’s raging waters early Wednesday morning (Feb. 21).

Const. Paul Nancekivell, spokesman for the Dufferin OPP Detachment, said that just before 1 a.m. the car was on the 10th Line of Amaranth heading towards Waldemar. The driver passed a sign indicating the road was closed due to flooding.  Several feet of water covered the road at the time of the incident.

“The driver tried to back up, turned her wheels, and the wheels acted like rudders and dragged the vehicle into the water,” Nancekivell said.

The driver managed to get the three-year-old child from the vehicle but the child was swept out of her arms by the force of the river.

The Grand Valley Fire Department rescued the driver from the bank of the river and she was transported to hospital and treated for hypothermia.

“We’re doing a search for the three-year-old boy. We have the OPP helicopter here, the OPP dive team here, and the OPP Emergency Response team searching the river banks. We have our crime unit here – not that we think there’s anything suspicious about what happened but just to use their expertise in interviewing witnesses and neighbours to see if they saw anything,” Const. Nancekivell said.

Grand Valley District Fire Chief Kevin McNeilly told the Toronto Sun that conditions at the time of the incident were treacherous for all concerned.

“It was extremely foggy. Very, very violent river last night,” Chief McNeilly said. “At one point it raised up three feet in a matter of 20 minutes.”

The vehicle was located almost 2 kilometres south of where it entered the river. Crews managed to retrieve the vehicle from the river at around 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon as a OPP helicopter circled the area above with a thermal imaging camera.

While police were initially optimistic of finding the boy alive, Nancekivell admitted to the Citizen the possibility of that happening decreases with every hour he goes unfound.

Police said no charges are pending and alcohol was not a factor.

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