‘Massive’ search for children swept away in Pennsylvania floods

image source, Courtesy of the Makefield Township Police

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Police are looking for Mattie Shiels, 2, and Conrad Shiels, 9 months.

A search is underway for two children who went missing after a mother and four others died in flash flooding in Pennsylvania last weekend.

A race-time search for nine-month-old Conrad Shiels and his two-year-old sister Matilda continued in suburban Philadelphia on Monday.

Their mother, Katie Chely, 32, died in the flood, police said.

A South Carolina family was on their way to a barbecue when their car was hit.

Their father, a four-year-old boy and their grandmother survived the flood.

“Their loving father, Jim Shiels, and their entire family would like to thank everyone for their prayers and support,” the family said in a statement.

Scott Ellis, Mr Shiels’ brother-in-law, read a statement from the family at a press conference on Monday.

“Our family would like to express our deepest gratitude for the tremendous efforts of the many emergency workers who are working tirelessly in dangerous and difficult conditions to rescue the victims of this terrible tragedy,” he said.

Upper Makefield Fire Chief Tim Brewer said at a news conference Monday that more than 100 crew members and drones will be searching the area in a “massive effort” for the missing children.

He said: “Dad took his four-year-old son, while mother and grandmother grabbed two additional children, aged nine months and two, as they tried to escape the severe flooding.

image source, Courtesy of the Makefield Township Police

image caption,

Jim Shiels released a statement thanking people for their prayers and support

“Miraculously, the father and his son got out safely, however, the grandmother, mother and two children were swept away by the flood waters. We have also rescued the mother, who was among the dead.”

The injured woman was rescued and treated at a local hospital.

Four other people were killed along with Mrs. Chely in Saturday’s floods.

Authorities confirmed the identities of 53-year-old Susan Barnhart, Ugo Love, 64, Enzo DePiaro, 78, and 74-year-old Linda DePiaro.

The Bucks County Coroner confirmed they all drowned.

Nearly a dozen cars were stranded in flash floods Saturday afternoon as Hucks Creek overflowed into a fast-moving river.

Three cars were swept away and the rest of the dead were all found outside their cars after abandoning their vehicles in an attempt to escape the flood. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

By Monday, the water had receded and roads were cut off by flooding.

Bucks County resident Nick Primola told Reuters he was used to “crazy weather these days” but his town had never seen anything like it.

According to the National Weather Service, much of the northeastern United States remains under a flash flood watch until Tuesday evening.

New Jersey Gov. Bill Murphy on Monday toured the storm-ravaged town of Belvidere, where torrential rains caused a landslide and buried a car in mud and debris. The governor said he has declared a state of emergency to get FEMA help to those most in need.

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