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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nadia Bloom 11, Found Shoeless In Florida Swamp

Missing Florida Girl, Nadia Bloom Found after 5 Days In Swamp

An 11-year-old girl missing for five days in an alligator-infested Florida swamp was found alive by search crews overnight and carried out Tuesday morning, police announced.

Nadia Bloom, who is thought to have a mild form of autism, was said to be in good shape, but was tired, hungry and covered in mosquito bites.

"They had to carry her out of the water, they had to chop their way out of the bushes" since the swamp was too dense for a helicopter landing, Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle told reporters.

"She's got a hell of a story to tell" about her ordeal, he added.

Brunelle praised the crews for having made their way through the swampy terrain that ranged from six feet of water to five feet of mud.

The Metro Church, which is attended by Nadia's family, said one of its members found the child.

Concern for the girl had been growing after police exhausted every possible tip during an all-out search that began last Friday when Nadia disappeared from her Winter Springs neighborhood.

NBC's Orlando station WESH TV said the girl would be taken to South Seminole Hospital for a checkup. Dr. Todd Husty said although she was covered in bug bites, she was not in a life-threatening condition.

We are ecstatic

Winter Springs officials had not been soliciting help from volunteers in the search, NBC Orlando said, but the Metro Church member, James King, and others from the church decided to carry out their own search.

"Obviously, we are ecstatic. Unbelievable good news," Church pastor Dan Holland said, according to WESH.

Holland said a search team of about 35 to 40 men worked through the night Monday. He said the searchers prayed, asking God to lead them to Nadia, then walked straight into the swamp and found her, WESH reported.

"The hand of God ...," Holland told the news station. "However someone is found alive, I don't care. We are just ecstatic."

Teresa Brown, director of children's ministry at the church, told that a celebratory dinner was to be held at the church Tuesday, although she was unsure whether Nadia or any family members would be able to attend.

"I know they are going to be invited, but we don't really expect them to be here," Brown said. "I'm just overwhelmed with joy, it's been an absolutely wonderful morning."

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Sources: CNN, MSNBC, Google Maps

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