Girl, 11, hospitalized for hypothermia after wandering away from Bankend home

(Herald file photo)

An 11-year-old girl from Bankend, Sask. was hospitalized after having wandered off Thursday evening.

According to an RCMP media release, at about 5:13 p.m., a parent called the Wynyard RCMP to report that their 11-year-old daughter was not at home, and was believed to have left the residence on her own between 3 and 5 p.m. The mother had been away from the residence, while the 11-year-old was home sick. When the mother returned home, there were tracks in the snow leaving the residence. The mother followed the tracks as far as she could and checked with neighbours before calling the police for assistance.

The Wynyard RCMP got a search team together with help from the Punnichy and Wadena RCMP, conservation officers, a volunteer firefighter from Wishart and Saskatchewan Highway Patrol while Saskatchewan search and rescue and an RCMP police dog were en route to the area. STARS was also called to assist as it was getting darker and the temperature was falling as snow started to fall. EMS was ready to respond if the child was located.

About two hours into the search, a local volunteer found a set of footprints just outside the search area an followed the track in a 4×4 afros an open field. The volunteer continued through light bush towards a frozen slough, where the girl was found collapsed, lying face down in the snow.

She was still alive, and transported to the Wynyard hospital to be treated for hypothermia and injuries related to exposure.

The girl was found about four miles west of Bankend. The child was found before STARS arrived, so the air ambulance service was not used.

In a media release, the RCMP thanked all of the volunteers and first responders for their quick response.