Watch: Missing girl found in Florida swamp after police spotted her from drone

A missing five-year-old girl was rescued from a wooded swamp in Florida after police used thermal imaging cameras to locate her.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) posted a video showing the moment deputies found the young girl, who was standing ankle-deep in swamp water.

The child, who has autism, was reported missing from her home in Tampa shortly after 5pm on Monday and the aviation unit of the sheriff’s office was called to attend the scene.

A post on the HCSO Facebook page said: “In under an hour, our deputies were able to locate the girl, who was found unharmed and returned to her family.”

A rescuer coaxing the child out of the water
A rescuer coaxing the child out of the water

In the footage, thermal imaging equipment is used by deputies in a helicopter to communicate with colleagues on the ground.

One deputy is heard telling rescuers below, “Hey, I think I got her in the woods,” before adding: “She might be able to hear her name if you call her. She might be about 80ft in front of you.”

Body camera footage from the ground then showed the moment deputies discovered the child in a wooded area.

Officers used thermal imaging equipment to locate the child
Officers used thermal imaging equipment to locate the child

One rescuer was shown raising his arms before he said, “Come here, sweetie… come here sweetheart” and coaxed the child out of the water.

The young girl responded by lifting her arms and walking towards the deputy.

In a statement, Sherriff Chad Chronister said: “Their [the deputies] quick action saved the day, turning potential tragedy into a hopeful reunion.”

He added: “Their dedication shows what service and protection are all about here at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.”

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