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Police search for missing girl after three drown in eastern France

French Gendarmes and German police officers from the Franco-German River Brigade search the banks and the River Rhine for a missing 4-year-old girl in Gerstheim, eastern France on May 31, 2019, the day after a boating accident.
French Gendarmes and German police officers from the Franco-German River Brigade search the banks and the River Rhine for a missing 4-year-old girl in Gerstheim, eastern France on May 31, 2019, the day after a boating accident. FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP

Rescuers were searching Friday for a four-year-old girl missing after a boating accident in eastern France that killed three people, local officials said.

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The inflatable boat capsized on Thursday in the Rhine River that marks the border between France and Germany, just off the French town of Gerstheim and close to a hydro-electric power station and dam.

French and German rescuers were employing divers and using helicopters in a bid to find the missing girl.

Officials said the four people -- part of a group of seven Germans and Romanians who had come from Germany -- had taken to the water in defiance of clearly posted warnings against swimming and boating.

A man, 29, and a girl aged 6 both died when the boat capsized, while a 22-year-old man from the same group also lost his life when he jumped in to rescue them.

Two other witnesses of the accident who dived in a bid to save the victims managed to swim to safety.

Notices in the area in German and French clearly state that water activities are prohibited in the area due to the risk posed by the dam.

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