DAYTON — The body of a 9-year-old girl was recovered Monday morning after a search spanning over two days on the Mad River near Eastwood MetroPark.
Nora Cal, 9, of Dayton was identified as the victim pulled from the water Monday, Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said. Cal’s cause and manner of death were still under investigation Monday and had not been officially determined.
Witnesses said Cal had been swimming in the river Saturday afternoon when she went under the water and was swept downstream.
Following days of searching, the girl’s body was found around 11 a.m. Monday about 2,000 feet downstream from where she was last seen swimming.
“A Dayton Fire Department boat crew located the body of the victim downstream from the location that the victim was first reported,” Dayton Fire Capt. Brad French told News Center 7′s John Bedell Monday.
“Our primary concern lies with the family. Our hearts really go out to the family of the nine-year-old girl.”
The incident started Saturday around 5 p.m. when dispatchers first started receiving calls about a possible drowning on the Mad River near the MetroPark. Previously, rescue crews said up to seven children were swimming at the time the girl was swept downstream.
Dayton Fire District Chief Mike Fasnacht previously praised a Good Samaritan who pulled out two children did a “phenomenal job” and noted that kayakers on the river also assisted in pulling out some of the children. Two of those children were hospitalized Saturday.
But Cal was swept downstream, launching a search that spanned through Saturday night, over 15 hours Sunday, and part of the morning Monday.
During the search, crews from across southwest Ohio helped in trying to recover her body. On Sunday, dive teams from Piqua, Mad River/Enon and Wright Patterson Air Force Base conducted 15 dives before crews temporarily suspended their search around 5:00 p.m. A dive team from Hamilton County arrived later in the evening to conduct dives until dusk.
“We’ve had drones in the air, we’ve had sonar under the water, we’ve had multiple dive teams under the water. We’ve had surface water operations, crews working along the shorelines. This has been an all-out to try to find this little girl,” French said.
The area of the river is known for boaters, but dangerous for swimmers. Her body was found in a part of the river known as a “strainer,” a solid object that water passes through but solid objects cannot. Park rangers said they can be extremely dangerous because the force of a current can pin you up against a strainer under the water.
That is part of the reason why boating is permitted on the stretch of the river but swimming isn’t, park rangers said.
The incident is being investigated by MetroParks police, but additional details about the investigation were not released.
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