KNIGHTS FERRY (CBS13) – Officials say the Stanislaus River remains extremely dangerous, even for professional crews, as the search for a missing five-year-old girl continues.

Matilda Ortiz was last seen over the weekend. She was with her family when she apparently slipped on a rock and fell into the water near Knights Ferry.

Search crews have been out ever since she was reported missing, but the water continues to run cold, fast and full of debris.

According to the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, water conditions are so dangerous that a search and rescue boat involved in Tuesday’s search got hung up in some trees – throwing a firefighter off the boat.

The firefighter was able to climb back onboard and get out of the vegetation, authorities say, but the incident underscores the dangers search crews are facing.

The Bureau of Reclamation is temporarily reducing water flows into the Stanislaus River to make it safer and easier for crews to try and recover Ortiz. However, even when it looks like flows are down, authorities are warning people to stay out of the water.

Ortiz was last seen about 50 yards from the overpass at Knights Ferry Recreation Area. Crews believe she was carried downstream by the strong current.

Family and friends of Ortiz are staying along the river until she is found.


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