Search Continues for Missing 8 year old


(Gallatin County, Mont.) 48 Searches worked to locate the 8 year old girl that went into the headwaters of the Missouri River Sunday evening.  Sheriff’s Search managers concentrated on the area last seen as well as possible locations downstream.  Today’s effort included 4 boats with underwater cameras, 3 kayaks, ground searchers, dogs, 2 helicopters and a fixed wing airplane.  Search and Rescue Divers are also on the scene.  Most all the Rescuers are volunteer and members of Sheriff’s Search and Rescue units.  Sheriff Gootkin said “As the day progresses the light strikes the water at different angles and provides a completely different view than hours before.”  The scene is located near the confluence of the Jefferson and Madison Rivers which creates some challenges to searchers.  Strong currents create swirling pockets with large holes.  Local land owners report some of the holes to be in excess of 30 feet deep.  Searches report visibility from the air to vary between 1 and 5 feet.  Sheriff Gootkin stated “We are all frustrated that we can’t just go out and find her but rivers are tough.  There are many hazards that are not visible from the surface including trees, wire, rocks and strong currents. The power of the current is also very easy to underestimate from the surface.  Imagine being blind folded and pushed around randomly then trying to find a small item in a big room.  We could be a foot away and not locate her.”  He continues, “We are committed to doing everything we can plus some extra to bring this to a conclusion for the family.  Resources from as far away as Flathead County including Madison and Lewis and Clark Counties, Customs and Border Protection, Highway Patrol, Civil Air Patrol, Highway Department, AMR Ambulance and local volunteers are lending assistance.  It has been great to also receive community support for the effort and the family.” Plans are in place to continue the effort tomorrow if necessary.  Photographs courtesy of the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office.



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