8-year-old Ally Wilson, 14-year-old Brandy Wilson and their 15-year-old friend were last seen Saturday at sunset.
The suspension came about 24 hours after the children — Siblings Ally Wilson, 8, and Brandy Wilson, 14; and their 15-year-old friend — were last seen playing along the river in New Orleans. One of the girls fell into the water, prompting the other two to try to save her. Onlookers suspect the river’s strong current took them away.
The missing 15-year-old boy’s family has requested media not to disclose his name until they feel ready.
“The decision to suspend any search and rescue case is never easy but considering the extensive search efforts of our Coast Guard men and women, in conjunction with other response agencies, I’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our active search for the three children,” Coast Guard sector commander Capt. Kelly Denning told sister station WDSU in a statement Sunday night. “Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time.”
Rescue crews searched more than 93 miles along the Mississippi River with a combined 55 total hours. The search involved MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, Coast Guard boat crews, as well as police from Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and St. Charles parishes.
Before the search was suspended, relatives of Brandy and Ally Wilson spent Sunday afternoon gathered along a levee near a Coast Guard staging area.
“I need my kids,” mother Octavia Wilson told reporters. “I need them. I need them more than anything. They’re my reason for living. I need my children. I need them.”
The family had hoped to continue their mission, if only to recover the minors’ bodies.
“I know that they not breathing in that water,” the girls’ aunt Shwron Johnson said before crews stopped searching. “I just hope that they could get their bodies back all in one part so we can do the proper things and give them a proper service. That’s the only hope we have.”
Source & Credit: wapt.com