Crews temporarily call off search for missing girl

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MOAB -- The search for a 5-year-old girl in Moab was called off just before dark and is scheduled to resume Saturday morning. Crews have been looking for her in the Colorado River since Friday afternoon.

The girl was riding inside a car with her grandmother and an 11-year-old girl when it plunged into the Colorado River. The grandmother and here 11-year-old adopted daughter were able to escape and swim to shore, but the little girl was buckled in as the car took on water and submerged.

It happened Friday afternoon while the grandmother was driving her daughters on state Route 128 near Moab. Troopers say the grandmother turned around to talk to her girls in the backseat, and the car went off the right hand side of the road and down 100-foot embankment into the river.

Rescue crews spent the afternoon looking for the car and the 5-year-old, but had no luck.

"There's a boat from the national park service, a boat from Grand County Search and Rescue, and they are working with Grand County Fire and Rescue to locate the vehicle. The vehicle is fully submerged in the river and not able to be seen," said Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Jeff Arborn.

The river is about 20 feet deep in that area. Saturday, crews will resume their search using sonar equipment and a dive team from Salt Lake City.

The grandmother has been identified as Evelyn Maestas of Mancos, Colo. The 11-year-old is Tori Maestas, and the 5-year-old granddaughter is named Danica.

The grandmother and 11-year-old were taken to the hospital with minor injuries; both are expected to be OK.

Story compiled with contributions from Courtney Orton and Cleon Wall.


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