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'Extremely sad day': Search turns to recovery mode for missing 6-year-old girl swept away by swollen creek

Chester Fire Commissioner John Shirley said the search for the missing 6-year-old girl who was swept away Saturday night in a swollen Chester Creek moved into a recovery mode with first light Sunday.

Shirley, Mayor Stefan Roots and other officials spoke at a press conference Sunday afternoon regarding the disappearance and likely death of Lin’ajah Brooker.

“Once we had the sunlight on our side we knew it was going to be a recovery and not a rescue,” Shirley said, adding that modeling for such situations shows about a three-hour survivability period.

“We were looking for that miracle,” he added. “We were always hopeful.”

Numerous fire companies helped on Saturday night after someone reported about 7 p.m. that the 6-year-old fell in the creek, and their search ended about 10:30 p.m., though the Coast Guard search continued through the night.

Boats and drones were involved in the search Sunday, in both directions on Chester Creek and on both sides of the Delaware River where the creek flows into it.

“We’re going to search until it starts to get dark out again,” Shirley said Sunday, adding that it’s a very large area to cover.

He added that with the swift-moving river following the heavy rain Saturday, “She probably would have been at the mouth of the Delaware River in nine minutes. She might have already been in the Delaware when we were getting set up.”

Roots said, “All across the city we are in mourning. … This is an extremely sad day in Chester.”

And, the searching to recover the girl would go on because “It’s really important to find closure here.”

“We’re praying and we appreciate the prayers and support coming from all over the country right now,” he added, saying schools churches and social organizations will band together because “We have a tough community.”

Roots stressed that the city and every municipality needs to provide safe places for children to play, and that parents need to know what their children are doing when playing outside.

There was a discussion about how the girl and her friends got down to the creek side near Eighth Street, whether by a hole in the fence of a nearby playground or another way.

The mayor said it wasn’t yet clear how Brooker and her friends came to be at the creek, but “They were down at the water at the very wrong time.”

The creek was the subject of a flood warning earlier Saturday. The National Weather Service said that creek was going to crest at just over 8 feet — slightly above flood stage — due to the drenching rains much of the first half of the day. That warning expired at 3:15 p.m.

It’s not clear how much the creek level had subsided by 7 p.m.

Source: Berkshire mont

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