GOWANDA, New York (WIVB) — Rope rescue team, Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies and emergency crews searched for hours on Sunday for a family of four after a hiker reported discovering bodies in Zoar Valley.
The hiker called authorities Sunday afternoon after discovering several bodies on the gorge floor. The hiker stayed on the phone with dispatch and was able to describe the location so emergency crews could locate the victims.
Air One rescued 4-year-old Alexander Green and flew him to the Mercy Flight on stand by. He was then flown to Women and Children’s Hospital with critical injuries. As of Sunday night, he is in guarded condition at the hospital. The Sheriff’s office says he suffered internal injuries, multiple fractures and a head injury.
The victim’s parents, 35-year-old Amanda Green and 33-year-old William Green were deceased and lying next to him in the same area on the gorge floor.
Sheriff Howard told reporters during a news conference on Sunday evening that the search continued after the three were located because a pair of sneakers were found in the area. Howard said the shoes were too big for the 4 year-old that was rescued and this suggested there was another child not yet found.
The fourth victim, 7-year-old Jacob Green, was able to walk out to a paramedic searching the area and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated. He is in good condition, but suffered a broken right arm and ankle.
Officals say they don’t know yet what caused the accident. The family was found on the edge of a cliff a couple feet above the water.
Sheriff Howard told News 4 the family was found in the highest and steepest area at Zoar Valley.
The accident is still under investigation.
BlueCross BlueShield released a statement on Amanda’s death:
“Amanda Green was a beloved employee at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. We are assisting the family through this difficult time and are distributing the following statement on their behalf.”
A statement from the victims’ family was also released:
“We are grateful for the outpouring of thoughts and prayers from the Western New York community. This tragic event has left us with empty hearts and without words.
While the details of yesterday are still being discovered, we want to remember Amanda and William’s legacy as two parents that loved their children dearly. Our family would like to thank the first responders including Erie County Sheriff’s Office, Mercy Flight, as well as the dedicated staff at Women and Children’s Hospital for their courageous and caring efforts.
At this time, we are focused on Amanda and William’s two little boys and will share additional information at the appropriate time.”