Search for 3-year-old boy swept away by Grand River flood continues

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Search for 3-year-old boy swept away by Grand River flood continues

The search for a three-year-old boy who was swept away in the floodwaters of the Grand River near Orangeville, Ont., continued on Saturday. 

Police have deployed a helicopter to patrol the shoreline while a dive team scoured the area around where the water overtook the minivan that Kaden Young was riding in, according to Ontario Provincial Police Const. Paul Nancekivell.

Divers are particularly focused on water south of the Dufferin County 109 Grand River bridge, he said.

Police are now considering the search for Kaden a recovery mission, adding that it's unlikely the child survived considering the conditions. 

The search is expected to continue Sunday with the OPP's emergency response team conducting a ground search, a dive team searching underwater and a helicopter taking part, if it's available. 

River remains unsafe

The river's water level dropped significantly by Saturday but has also made things more difficult for those searching for Kaden. 

"The water level has dropped probably 10, 11 feet in the last three days, so a lot more shorelines exposed where it wasn't before," Nancekivell said, adding that some areas are being checked again.

The river was also still moving quickly by Saturday afternoon and floods have made the riverbanks unstable. 

"The earth is compromised. You could step on it and it could give way on you," he said. "That's what we're telling people. Stay away from the water's edge. Look but don't be getting right down to the water because you could slip and fall." 

The forecast calling for freezing rain on Sunday also concerned Nancekivell, who is worried about people slipping into the fast-moving water. The freezing rain may also affect the helicopter.

Police have already asked the public to stay away from the shoreline due to unsafe ice conditions, and Nancekivell said that large ice flows are also making it difficult to look for Kaden. 

Searching since Wednesday

Police said the boy's mother was driving on 10th Line in the Township of Amaranth when she drove past a road closure sign early Wednesday.

Police said it was foggy at the time, but they are not sure why the woman decided to go past the sign.

Since Wednesday, OPP emergency response teams and canine units have been searching for Kaden. 

On Thursday, police found a shirt that belonged to Kaden in the water close to where the van was recovered. 

Nancekevill said the shirt was "not clothing he wore," but it provided police an estimate as to how far his body may have travelled.

On Friday, about 30 people were out with the boy's family searching. The family began their own search along 10th Line in East Garafraxa.

Nancekevill said police have been updating the boy's parents through out the search.

"We're keeping them constantly updated on what we find and what we're doing," he said.

Rachel Kirk helped with the search on Saturday and said the community was shocked and wanted to come together to help. Hearing the helicopters has been difficult for her. 

"It's terrible to hear them, and it's also terrible to hear when they stop 'cause you think it's not going to be a good ending," she said. "We really just want to bring him home for his family so they can mourn."