Girl, 10, found by father's body in ravine

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The Independent Online
A 10-year-old girl spent 30 hours by her father's body after he plunged into a raging torrent during a walk in a national park on Majorca.

Katia Scallan watched as her 35-year-old father Neil slipped on a path and plunged into the Torrente de Pareis in the park in the mountainous north of the island. As she scrambled down the ravine to her father, her mother, Alex, 34, who was carrying the couple's two-year-old daughter Michaela, walked on - unaware of the tragedy unfolding behind her.

Mrs Scallan, of Bishopston, Bristol, ran to a restaurant in the resort of Calla Millor to raise the alarm after realising that her husband and older daughter were missing. But Spanish police and rescue workers were unable to launch a search immediately because the dark made it too dangerous in the mountainous terrain.

A local British resident Humphrey Carter said: "It is a great gorge - it's a dangerous place, and the police wouldn't want to take risks up there."

The search was finally mounted at first light on Wednesday - and rescuers found Katia by the body of her father in the afternoon. Katia, who suffered severe shock, was yesterday recovering in hospital in Palma.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "This is a terribly tragic accident. Her father apparently fell and she spent the rest of the night with him."

The British Consul in Palma was yesterday preparing to fly Mrs Scallan and her two daughters home.

A spokesman for the Spanish Civil Guard said it was not yet clear whether Mr Scallan was killed by his fall or drowned in the torrent. Shocked relatives were anxiously waiting news from Majorca at the Scallan family's home.

The blinds were drawn on every window in the neat end of terrace house where Mrs Scallan's two distraught sisters were hoping she would telephone them.

Younger sister Emma Bevin sobbed as she told how they had learned of the tragedy only through the newspapers.

"We are waiting for Alex to contact us. We have no more information than is in the press," she said. She and her sister were too distressed to say any more to reporters. The family had been due to return home on Sunday from the two-week holiday.

A neighbour, Helen Jones, who teaches Katia the piano, said the child had talked excitedly of her holiday plans. Katia had explained that she would have to miss lessons.

"She told me how she was looking forward to her trip," Mrs Jones said.

Another neighbour, Andrew Leggatt, said: "This is really shocking news. They are a lovely family."

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