Home / Top Story / 'Very doubtful' 3-year-old swept into Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., will be found alive, OPP say

'Very doubtful' 3-year-old swept into Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., will be found alive, OPP say

The search for a three-year-old boy who was swept from his mother’s arms as their van sunk in the flooded Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., will resume Thursday, but police say there is little hope the boy will be found alive. 

Fire and police rescue crews were searching for the boy Wednesday, but called off the effort overnight because the police helicopter cannot search at night.

Police said the boy’s mother went past a road closure sign. It was foggy at the time, but police said she knew the sign was there.

The van she was driving was then swept into the Grand River just before 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Grand River search for boy resumes

An Ontario Provincial Police helicopter will be searching the Grand River between Grand Valley and Belwood Lake Thursday for the body of a three-year-old boy who was swept away from his mother in flood waters Wednesday morning. (Google Maps)

The mother got out of the van with her son, but “unfortunately, the three-year-old son was swept away in the water downstream,” Const. Paul Nancekivell said.

‘Very doubtful he could have survived’

He confirmed Thursday morning the search for the boy is now a recovery mission.

“Being more than 24 hours, very doubtful he could have survived,” Nancekivell said.

The mother was rescued from the river by the Grand Valley Fire Department and taken to an area hospital.

Ontario Provincial Police divers went into the water Wednesday and looked inside the van but the boy was not found. The van has since been pulled out of the water.

The OPP helicopter will be back in the air Thursday searching the area of the river from near Orangeville down to Belwood Lake, which is located 15 kilometres downstream, northeast of Fergus.

The Grand River Conservation Authority says river flows have peaked in the Grand Valley area and are starting to recede, but will remain high for the rest of the week.

The river is also being monitored for the presence of ice, which could jam up and cause new flooding.

CBC | Top Stories News

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