Coast Guard Calls Off Search for 3 Missing Kids in Mississippi River: 'My Babies Are in There,' Says Dad

"Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time," said Capt. Kelly Denning, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans commander

Daytime view of the Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans Louisiana
Photo: Getty

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended search and rescue efforts for three missing children who ended up in the Mississippi River in New Orleans over the weekend, according to authorities.

Rescue crews combed more than 93 miles along the river over a combined total of 55 hours, trying to locate a 15-year-old boy, 14-year-old girl and 8-year-old girl, the U.S. Coast Guard officials said in a news release.

Names and details surrounding how the children fell into the water were not provided by authorities, but family members told that 14-year-old Brandy Wilson slipped on a piling at the edge of the water near Lamarque Street around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Brandy's 8-year-old sister, Ally Berry Wilson, and 15-year-old boyfriend fell in while trying to rescue her from the river, family members told

The girls' father, Allen Berry, told investigators Saturday was the first time he allowed his children to go out on their own.

"My babies are in there," a panicked Allen Berry told investigators during the search, according to the outlet.

"This was a freak accident," family member Nedra Berry told FOX station WVUE. "God knows I wish it would've never happened."

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Sharon Johnson, the girls' aunt, told WVUE, "This is the hardest thing my family has ever had to deal with, to bury two of my nieces at one time. I just hope that we can come back from it. I know they're not breathing in that water, I just hope they can get their bodies out of there so we can do the proper things to give them a proper service…that's the only hope we have."

The name of the missing boy was not made public by his family, reported.

Search and rescue was suspended Sunday evening, according to the news release. New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, multiple sheriff's offices, Coast Guard helicopters and boat crews and others came up empty in their search for the missing children.

"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, Coast Guard Sector New Orleans commander, said in a statement. "Our prayers are with the families during this difficult time."

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