Girl, 10, at beach drowns in gulf

Pulled out by a strong current, her body is found hours later.

Published May 7, 2007

CLEARWATER - Three children were playing in the water off Clearwater Beach on Sunday evening when a strong undertow started to sweep them out into the gulf.

Someone on the beach noticed their distress and summoned help. The two boys were pulled out quickly, but rescuers couldn't find the girl, 10-year-old Kayria Pride of St. Petersburg, said Sondra-Kay Kneen, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

For the next two hours, a helicopter searched up and down the beach with a searchlight, and a half-dozen rescue boats scoured the water for the girl in a green and pink bathing suit.

About 8:45 p.m., more than two hours after she disappeared, an onlooker noticed what he thought was driftwood about 100 yards north of the Clearwater Beach jetty.

A small group that gathered on the shore started screaming: "Police! Police!"

George Ordel, a tourist from Ohio, carried the girl's limp body to shore, where rescue officials started CPR. For nearly 10 minutes, rescue workers unsuccessfully tried to revive her under the glare of the helicopter searchlight.

"We did what we could to save her, " said Clearwater Fire Rescue spokeswoman Elizabeth Daly-Watts.

Jonathan Abel can be reached at jabel@sptimes.com or 727 445-4157. Elena Lesley can be reached at elesley@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4167.