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Search-and-Rescue Turns to Recovery Mission for 6-Year-Old Swept Away by Creek

Mark Makela/Getty
Mark Makela/Getty

Authorities kept up their search Sunday for a missing 6-year-old who was caught in a deadly current in a Pennsylvania creek, but the outlook was bleak for rescuing the young girl.

Chester Fire Commissioner John-Paul Shirley announced in a Sunday press conference that the search-and-rescue mission for Lin’Ajah Brooker was now a recovery mission, which would continue until dusk. After that, responders would have to suspend the search because of the danger of posed to the search team by keeping them in the water.

“We always had in the back of our minds, just based on the initial information, that it was going be a recovery after three hours,” Shirley told reporters. “But that being said, we didn't want to give out hope. Because we were looking for that miracle.”

But now, Shirley said, “without a doubt,” the rescue mission must be transitioned to recovery effort.

“This is an extremely sad day for the city of Chester,” Shirley said.

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Brooker fell into Chester Creek around 7 p.m. on Saturday while she was playing with a friend nearby, authorities said. A team of responders including Chester Fire, Delaware County water rescue, and the U.S. Coast Guard scanned the water for the missing girl using boats and helicopters.

Shirley said they had combed the area where Brooker fell in all the way to the Delaware River. Authorities also deployed an underwater drone to search for her in the river without putting divers at risk.

But the rainfall and debris in the water hampered the team’s visibility on Saturday, and though it had cleared a little by Sunday morning, there was still no sign of Brooker.

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