The natural pools in Petit Cul-de-Sac, St. Barths. (Photo www.SBHonline.com)
MARIGOT--A major search operation continues in St. Barths to find an eleven-year-old girl who went missing on Tuesday in the area of Petit Cul-de-Sac. According to the Gendarmerie, she had been playing in the natural pools and got sucked into a hole and disappeared.
The girl had not been found by Tuesday evening. The search continued Wednesday morning with the pompiers and Gendarmerie divers from Pointe-à-Pitre, without success.
The Préfecture said the tragic accident has mobilised several services, including the Gendarmerie and its divers, sea rescue service SNSM, the fire department (pompiers), Coast Guard and Customs Services of St. Martin, reinforcements from St. Martin and the Collectivité of St. Barths. Several private individuals also volunteered to join the search.
The search operation to date has been coordinated by Centre Régional Opérationnel de Surveillance et Sauvetage Antilles-Guyane (CROSS-AG). More reinforcements were due to arrive from Guadeloupe on Wednesday while airborne resources (Dragon helicopter) were also deployed.
A team from Structure Mobiles d’Urgence et de Reanimation (SMUR) is providing psychological support to the parents and witnesses of the accident. The services of the Saint-Barthélemy hospital were alerted to anticipate any need and a counselling service is in place.
Préfet Vincent Berton is closely monitoring the search operations. The investigation has been entrusted to the St. Barths Gendarmerie. Swimming in the Petit Cul-de-Sac area is now prohibited until further notice.