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Girl, 6, clings to life after father throws her into river.

Summary: Plucky little one stayed afloat all night by holding on to water hyacinth

Image Credit: Agency Pamela Raghunath, Correspondent

Mumbai: On the promise of a new pair of sandals, a six-year-old girl set off from her Thane home with her father, only to be thrown into the Ulhas River on a rainy night in the Kulgaon-Badlapur area, around 60km from Mumbai, India.

But the plucky little one miraculously clung on to life by holding onto water hyacinth growing in the river and stayed afloat all night. Passers-by from a nearby village heard the cries of a child and alerted the police at around 6am.

"As soon as we got the information on Thursday morning from the police, our rescue team was sent out immediately with life saving equipment including ropes and an air tube," Bhagwat Sonone, Fire Officer, Kulgaon-Badlapur Fire Brigade, told Gulf News . "We brought her out safely," he added.

"The girl had managed to keep herself afloat in the river covered with water hyacinth, which she held on all through the night in pitch darkness," he said, with admiration as well as sympathy for the child.

"From what we gathered from her, she told us that her father told her he wanted to buy her a new pair of sandals and took her from her home in Thane on Wednesday.

"Along with another man, they travelled a long way, and when it was dark, he picked her up and threw her into the river from Walivli bridge."

He said passers-by heard a child cry, "uncle, uncle", in the early hours of Thursday and, finding the girl in the river, informed the police. When the rescue team brought her out of the river, she was very tired but told the Fire Brigade team of what happened.

Identified as Ekta Saini and a resident of Vartak Nagar in Thane, she told her rescuers, speaking in Hindi, that her father along with his friend had thrown her into the water, after tempting her with a new pair of sandals.

The girl's mother had approached the police with a missing persons complaint and as the girl was a minor, a case of kidnapping was registered by the police in Thane. An investigation is being carried out and police are trying to trace the father.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2016
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