11-year-old girl hospitalized with hypothermia after wandering kilometres from Bankend home

An 11-year-old girl suffering from hypothermia and other injuries was rushed to Wynyard hospital after being found face down near a frozen slough outside the Saskatchewan community of Bankend.

According to RCMP, the Wynyard detachment received a call Thursday at 5:13 p.m. from a mother about her missing daughter. Police say the mother was away from the residence and the girl had been home sick, and that the girl was believed to have left the residence on her own between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. When the mother returned home, she saw footprints in the snow.

“After following the tracks as far as she could and checking with neighbours, the mother called police for assistance,” RCMP said.

The search had been underway for approximately two hours when a local volunteer found a set of tracks just outside the search area. The volunteer followed the footprints in a 4×4 truck across a field, through light bush and towards a slough approximately six kilometres outside of the hamlet, where searchers “located the girl collapsed face down in the snow but still alive,” RCMP said.

An RCMP spokesman on Friday said the girl remained in hospital.

The windchill around the time was approximately -17C. The spokesman said the girl was dressed appropriately for the weather and wearing winter clothing when she was found.

Wynyard RCMP had quickly mobilized a search team with members from the Punnichy and Wadena detachments, nearby conservation officers, a volunteer firefighter from Wishart and Saskatchewan Highway Patrol. Around the time the girl was found, Saskatchewan Search and Rescue and an RCMP canine unit were preparing to search, emergency medical services was in Bankend, and STARS was ready to assist “as darkness and temperatures were falling and it was starting to snow in the area,” RCMP said.

Bankend is located approximately 160 kilometres northeast of Regina.

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