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Coast Guard suspends search after 3 juveniles fall into Mississippi River

NEW ORLEANS — Officials with the Coast Guard have suspended the searching for three juveniles who fell into the Mississippi River in New Orleans on Saturday night.

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In a news release, the Coast Guard is searching near the bank of the city’s Algiers neighborhood for a 15-year-old boy, a 14-year-old girl and an 8-year-old girl.

Update 10:04 a.m. EDT April 25: The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday night that it had suspended its search for three juveniles who fell into the Mississippi River, NOLA.com reported. The juveniles were apparently swept away in the river’s strong currents.

“The decision to suspend any search and rescue case is never easy, but considering the extensive search efforts of our Coast Guard men and women, in conjunction with other response agencies, I’ve made the difficult decision to suspend our active search for the three children,” Capt. Kelly Denning, the Coast Guard’s New Orleans sector commander, said in a statement. “Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time.”

Rescue crews searched more than 93 miles along the Mississippi River, WVUE-TV reported.

Update 5:58 p.m. EDT April 24: A friend speaking on behalf of the missing boy’s family said that the child’s 6-year-old brother had been with the other three juveniles and went to get help when they fell into the water, NOLA.com reported.

Update 5:48 p.m. EDT April 24: One of the three children still missing in the Mississippi River slipped on a piling, and her sister and another boy fell into the water after as they attempted to assist her, family members said Sunday afternoon.

“My babies are in there,” Allen Berry, the girls’ father, told NOLA.com.

According to Berry, Brandy Wilson, 14, slipped off a piling near Lamarque Street. Her sister, Ally Berry-Wilson, 8, and the 15-year-old boy fell into the river while trying to help Wilson, the website reported.

The family of the boy is not releasing his name while the search continues, NOLA.com reported.

Original report: The youths were reported as entering the river sometime around 7:15 p.m. CDT near the Crescent City Connection bridge, the Coast Guard said in its release. The span connects the east and west banks of New Orleans.

The Algiers ferry was shut down Saturday night and shuttle bus service was provided between the east and west banks as multiple Coast Guard units searched the water, WWL-TV reported.

It was not immediately clear why the juveniles entered the river, WVUE-TV reported.