WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - An 11-year-old girl missing for five days in an alligator-infested Florida swamp was found alive by search crews overnight and carried out Tuesday morning, police announced.
Nadia Bloom, who is thought to have a mild form of autism, was said to be in good shape, but was tired, hungry and covered in mosquito bites.
"They had to carry her out of the water, they had to chop their way out of the bushes" since the swamp was too dense for a helicopter landing, Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle told reporters.
"She's got a hell of a story to tell" about her ordeal, he added.
Brunelle praised the crews for having made their way through the swampy terrain that ranged from six feet of water to five feet of mud.
The Metro Church, which is attended by Nadia's family, said one of its members found the child.
Concern for the girl had been growing after police exhausted every possible tip during an all-out search that began last Friday when Nadia disappeared from her Winter Springs neighborhood.
NBC's Orlando station WESH TV said the girl would be taken to South Seminole Hospital for a checkup. Dr. Todd Husty said although she was covered in bug bites, she was not in a life-threatening condition.