Girl Pushed Into Schuylkill Could Not Swim

Police say the current was too strong for her to survive

The search for a little girl who was pushed into the Schuylkill River near 56th Street Tuesday night turned into a recovery mission Wednesday, according to police. 

Madousou Konneh, 9, was playing by the river with some friends in the Bartram Gardens section of Philadelphia when a boy playfully pushed her into the river around 8 p.m., police said. The girl couldn't swim and began panicking as the swift current pulled her away from shore. 

The kids quickly ran to the street for help, where they flagged down officers. But by the time police, firefighters and the Coast Guard arrived, the girl was gone. The river's current was too strong for the girl to survive, police Lt. John Walker said. 

"Unfortunately, kids are attracted to water... they don't realize how dangerous this river is with the current as fast as they are," Walker said. "It's just a tragic incident, right now." 

The children were alone at the time of the accident, police said. They snuck out of the home after Konneh's older sister Makula fell asleep. 

Mawa Trawally, the girl's mother, wept Wednesday after visiting the site where her daughter was lost to the river. "All she wants now is to see the body of her child," said interpreter Fatumata Kanneh. Trawally was at work when the accident occurred. The woman and her seven children immigrated to Philadelphia from war-torn Liberia in 2005. 

Officials called off the search for the girl around 10:30 Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard said. Two Coast Guard boats were involved in the search but after nearly 12 hours they couldn't find the girl's body.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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