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Good team work helps find little girl lost

Good team work helps find little girl lost – (includes statement from family at end of Police statement)"

The following statement may be attributed to Nelson Bays Area Commander Inspector Mat Arnold-Kelly

A missing 2-year-old girl and her 4-month-old puppy were located following a search and rescue operation at approximately 11:20pm last night, 9 August 2017.

The girl and the puppy left a Little Sydney Road, Motueka address at approximately 4pm yesterday and disappeared. Police were called to the rural property surrounded by extensive bush.

The excellent result followed an extensive five-hour search by Police, Search and Rescue volunteers, neighbours and family plus a helicopter also on standby.

“Police, many of them off-duty, LandSAR volunteers and locals, immediately launched a search for the child.

After hours of searching, one of the SAR members spotted the child and her puppy in the bush at least 3km away from the family's home.

The girl and the puppy are fine and in good spirits and are obviously very happy to be back with family.

We would like to thank all the people who assisted with the search.

Approximately ten neighbours came to the aid of the family and also assisted with the search. We also had the assistance of ADRA Care who supported everyone during the search by feeding them, so we would like to acknowledge their extensive help also.

We had an extraordinary amount of offers from people calling our communications centre and offering help via our Facebook page as well.

Police would like to impress that we are extremely grateful for this community support and are heartened by the amount of concern shown by people wanting to help."

The family would like no more contact from media and ask that media respect their privacy at this time - below is their statement.

Statement below from family of little girl

We are the family of the toddler who went missing from her family home yesterday afternoon.

We would firstly like to highlight the amazing, Police, Search and Rescue, local Fire services and Local 4wheel-drive Club who rushed to search for our daughter.

Each and every single one of you are true heroes in our eyes and we can never repay you enough for dropping your lives and rushing to the rescue.

Also every single one of our family members and close friends and neighbours who helped search and act as mum’s support crew THANK-YOU.

Yesterday afternoon the child's mum and older sibling set off for a motorbike ride up the family’s remote farm.

The younger child was left at the house in the care of another adult along with her other siblings.

She was last seen by her mum as she rode off through the gates heading towards the other adult who was in the garage right next to the house however before she reached them she has obviously decided to turn around and head in the opposite direction.

During this time both sets of people at the house assumed that she was with the other one.

Approximately one hour later, upon her mum's return it was noticed that she and the family puppy were not at the house.

We immediately started a detailed search of the house, its immediate perimeter and then branching out.

We also contacted close neighbours, family and friends who have thermal imaging to assist us.

Please understand that this is a very remote, steep terrain with a mixture of open paddocks and dense scrub with many tracks branching off the main ones.

Our immediate concern was covering any area we thought of relevance as quick as we could.

As more resources arrived mum had a moment to breathe, which is when the local police and Search And Rescue were notified.

The response from these organisations was absolutely outstanding with numerous first responding police making the 40 minute journey from Nelson as fast as they safely could.

They did an initial search of the house and yards covering and double-checking where we had been just in case, all the while the co-ordinators were working tirelessly in the background doing what they do best, organising the people who are experienced in these situations.

They worked collectively and systematically to cover every possible and impossible area they could as quickly as they could sometimes putting their own wellbeing at risk. No one could have fathomed that she could have possibly covered the area and distance she did in such a short time and we are just thankful to the co-ordinators for sending the staff to that area on the off-chance.

To the media and public, firstly we are thankful for all the well wishes and concern that we have received from across the country. While we understand it is the age of social media and everyone thinks they have the right to know every detail of an incident like this, please also understand you don't!

Due to the early media coverage and description that they put out of her obtained by them listening into the police scanners, our close family and friends from across the world found out before we had a chance to notify them ourselves.

Some may think this is ok we however think it is morally wrong.

The coverage also caused numerous people to arrive to help search.

While this may seem like a good idea at the time, it is not.

It can cause mayhem for the search co-ordinators who have to control who and where is searched and it can tie up resources, ie police and fire services restricting media from accessing the property.

And this area is covered in steep dense bush which proved challenging for the most experienced searchers let alone townies who have no bush experience and would potentially end up needing to be searched for themselves or putting themselves in danger.

Please respect our family’s (siblings) privacy and not try and contact us again as this will be the only statement we will make.

Media turning up at our doorstep is not appreciated.

Thank you from 'Relieved Parents'


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