Family identifies girl missing in Schuylkill

PHILADELPHIA - August 19, 2009 Family members have identified the victim as 9-year-old Madousou Konneh. She, along with her family, immigrated to the United States from Liberia in 2005.

Madousou would have been a 4th grader this year. Her family says she loved Hannah Montana.

Lt. John Walker says the current of the river was too swift for the girl to swim when she was pushed in around 8:00 Tuesday night.

Walker says Madousou was playing with friends on a dock near 53rd Street in Southwest Philadelphia when a boy playfully pushed her into the water. Walker says the girl didn't know how to swim, she panicked and was carried away in the water.

"She's about four foot in height, about 100 pounds, a thin build. So, to go into the river with the currents the way they were last night, the weather conditions, she was pulled out pretty quickly," said Lt. Walker.

Police said late Tuesday that the effort had turned from a rescue mission into a recovery mission, meaning the search is for a dead body.

Investigators used underwater cameras and sonar equipment during the search Wednesday.

Action News has learned the children were playing unsupervised, and their parents didn't know they were down by the river.

Residents say this is the second time a child has drowned in this part of the river in recent years, adding the water is rougher than it looks on the surface.

"On top it doesn't look rough, but when you get under the currents, it'll take you under like a tornado," said Mike Hero of Southwest Philadelphia.

"Kids should not be in this area, they should not be along the Delaware or the Schuylkill River. If they go in this water, 90-percent of the time they don't come out alive," said Lt. Anthony Napoli of the Philadelphia Police Marine Unit.

Police are investigating this as an accident. Lt. Walker said police have spoken to the children who were with the girl at the time of the accident, saying they are very traumatized by what happened.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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