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Tuesday, March 14th, 2006 -- 8:38 AM

The drowning of a 4-year-old Thorp girl serves as a tragic reminder of the dangers posed by swollen waterways this time of year, officials say.

While it?s unclear if thin ice or rushing water played a part in this drowning, Chief Deputy Jim Backus of the Clark County Sheriff?s Departments says parents should take the incident to heart.

?This time of year, we have a couple issues with thin ice and (potentially) falling through, but also with rising waters and the speed of the current pulling them in,? Backus says. ?It?s dangerous situation no matter how you look at it."

Curiosity may have led the girl to the water, Backus says.

When water is involved, parents should be constantly aware of their child?s location.

"Obviously, it doesn't take much to fall in or slip in. Be aware of where they're at," Backus urges.

The girl was missing for up to 15 minutes before relatives found her in a nearby waterway.

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