Officials have identified a 12-year-old Canadian girl as the victim of a deadly boat accident in California.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office says Lia Rose Barakett was riding in a boat with family friends last Saturday when tragedy struck.
A report from the examiner’s office says the boat was conducting “recreational manoeuvres” while dragging a tube carrying a passenger. When that person fell off the tube, the operator of the boat stopped suddenly and Barakett was thrown off, the report says.
The craft then sailed over her, the report says, and she became separated from her life jacket and was submerged in the water.
The San Diego Fire Department says the incident occurred around 6 p.m. on August 11 at the San Vicente Reservoir northeast of the city.
“Several people immediately went in after her but they were not able to locate her,” said Monica Munoz, a spokeswoman for the department. Another person on the boat called 911 and police responded, she said.
They were able to locate her life jacket, but an initial search for the girl was unsuccessful.
“Teams searched until dark and then resumed the search the next day and continued searching until she was located on Wednesday morning,” Munoz said, adding that the team managed to find her using sonar technology.
Munoz said she posted a video of the dive to the department’s Facebook page, which shows responders plunging into murky water.
Law enforcement agencies from around the county offered their services and private companies offered their technology, she said, as the San Vicente Reservoir is a difficult dive location, reaching about 85 metres in some spots.
“The terrain on the bottom is particularly dangerous: trees, fishing line and other debris and very large and sharp boulders,” she said. “This made the search efforts very difficult and dangerous.”
Munoz said the team was committed to finding Barakett, and officials are compassionate towards the girl’s family.
Several media outlets report that Barakett was about to enter Grade 8 at a Catholic school in Waterloo, Ont. The medical examiner’s report said that Barakett lived with her mother.