NOTE: This story was modified after police gave an update on the ages of the two victims.
WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The search for a 10-year-old girl who went missing off the coast of Warwick on Sunday has come to a tragic end.
City officials identified the girl Monday as Yoskarly Martinez, shortly after her body was recovered by divers near the sandbar at Conimicut Point.
A man who died trying to save Martinez has been identified as Valentin Cardona Sanchez, 35, who was pulled from the water during the initial search on Sunday. Officials say he was not known to Martinez and her family, but immediately sprang into action when he found out what was happening.
Martinez’s uncle and another man who also tried to rescue the girl were taken to the hospital on Sunday. Warwick officials did not have an update on their conditions Monday.
According to Capt. Robert Hart of the Warwick Police Department dive team and marine unit, Martinez’s body was found in about 5 to 6 feet of water, approximately 100 yards from the Conimicut Point Lighthouse.
“Very shallow. The police and fire divers were able to actually walk out there from a boat and retrieve her,” he said.
Hart said Martinez and her uncle were on the sandbar when they got caught in a cross current.
“That sandbar, again, is very shallow, very deceiving at low tide. You can walk out to almost the lighthouse itself,” he explained. “As that tide changes, from either the low tide or the high tide, it moves in extremely rapidly. It’s a very strong current there.”
Additionally, as that current flows, the sand can move and create a treacherous undertow, according to Hart.
“If you’re not paying attention, or you just get caught up into it, it can be very dangerous,” Hart said.
Video Now: The hidden dangers of sandbars (story continues below)
Hart and Picozzi urged people not to walk on the sandbar or swim in that area, saying water searches are not uncommon and there have been several deaths over the years.
“If you want to go to the beach, use the south side of the beach,” Hart said. “The north side of the beach, it’s not a lot of current, it’s shallow, it’s nice, but avoid the sandbar. Do not walk out on that point.”
The mayor said that while dissuading people from heading out there will continue to be a challenge, he’ll look into adding more signage to warn them of the dangers.
“We witnessed the child being taken out of the water today with the parents. It was heartbreaking,” Picozzi said. “That’s just what we’re doing right now, we’re trying to heal a little bit. We’ll be taking a look at it, we’ll see if we can do something better. We’re never going to be able to keep people off the sandbar.”
The U.S. Coast Guard assisted with the search, along with dive teams from Cranston, Portsmouth, Barrington and Warren, Rhode Island State Police and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management.