NEW ORLEANS ( Associated Press) – After nearly a month, a search-and-rescue group of sailors has suspended the search for an 8-year-old girl who fell into the Mississippi River last month. the group said on Thursday.
“It is with an extremely heavy, and painfully broken heart” that the United Cajun Navy “states that we have exhausted our available resources for this mission, and have only been able to engage a team of local volunteers.” You should reduce your search campaign for this,” said a message on the group’s Facebook page.
The group had been searching since April 23, when Ellie Berry-Wilson, her sister Brandi Wilson, 14, and Brandi Wilson’s friend, Kevin Poole, 15, fell into the river from a park on New Orleans’ west coast. The Coast Guard suspended its search two days later. But volunteers and law enforcement agencies found and searched Wilson’s body in early May.
Family members have told news outlets they believe Brandi Wilson slipped into the river first, and that others tried to save her. First Poole’s body was found.
Group spokesman Brian Trasher said in an email that about half a dozen volunteers, some from the United Cajun Navy, are still searching.
“There are some pilots and boat captains who are scanning the river while operating their normal routes, and there are some local citizens who are exploring certain areas of interest on their own time,” he wrote.
The United Cajun Navy said airplane and drone pilots, tugboat captains, K-9 dogs, and local and out-of-state volunteers joined the search on foot, horseback, and on ATVs.
“Unfortunately we haven’t found any new leads that could bring us closer to locating him,” the group said.
Trasher said the drone team, sniffer dogs, ATVs and cavalry were all volunteers paying their own way. “There is only enough time for us to keep them with us before they return to their homes and jobs,” he said.
“We are ready to regroup” should circumstances change, the Facebook message said.