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Divers on standby in toddler river search

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/06/2016 Cleo Fraser

Police divers are on standby to search for two-year-old Emily Saunders who was swept away in floodwaters on the West Coast last week.

The girl was in a 4WD with her parents and another man, Barry Petrie, when the vehicle became submerged while crossing the swollen Poerua River, south of Hokitika, last Thursday.

The couple managed to make it to safety but Emily and Mr Petrie were swept away.

The man's body was found the following day but there has been no sign of Emily who is presumed dead.

A search for the girl was called off on Monday night, but searchers are considering resuming the search on Wednesday if conditions improve.

Police divers were heading to the river ahead of a briefing on Wednesday morning.

A police spokeswoman told NZ Newswire a decision over whether the divers would enter the water would be known about midday.

Emily's parents, local farmers Sandra and Michael, have said they will be forever grateful to Mr Petrie for trying to save their little girl.

The 66-year-old will be farewelled in Greymouth on Friday.

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