Saskatchewan

Sask. girl, 11, missing after being home while sick, found face-down in snow but alive

An 11-year-old sick at her home in Bankend, Sask., was gone when her mother returned. There were footsteps in the snow leading away from the house.

Footsteps led away from the house in Bankend, Sask.

RCMP say the girl is recovering in hospital after being found lying in the snow. (Rafferty Baker / CBC)

A two-hour search Thursday night for a missing 11-year-old Saskatchewan girl ended with her being found injured but alive.

The girl was sick at home in Bankend, Sask., according to a news release. The tiny hamlet is about 200 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

When the mother came home, the girl was gone and there were footsteps in the snow leading away from the house. She is believed to have wandered away sometime between 3 and 5 p.m. CST, police said.

The mother and some neighbours followed the footsteps as far as they could and then called police. Police, a firefighter, search and rescue volunteers, a dog team and a STARS air ambulance were all involved in the search for the girl.

"In the area, it was about –15 but at the time this happened, darkness was setting in," Cpl. Rob King of the RCMP said. "It was starting to snow and the temperature was dropping."

And then they found her.

The girl was face down in the snow, close to a slough. She was rushed to hospital and is being treated for hypothermia and injuries related to exposure.

King said things could have turned out a lot worse if searchers didn't find the girl when they did.

"Another hour or two, I think we have been talking about a very different situation," King said.

"All the volunteers that showed up, and the first responders in the area ... coming together, quickly realizing the urgency of the matter and responding, probably saved this little girl's life."

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