07/21/2017 04:57 EDT | Updated 07/24/2017 07:24 EDT

Young child's leg severed after being struck by farming equipment: police

CLEMENTSVALE, N.S. — RCMP say a seven-year-old girl has died of injuries she suffered when her leg was severed by a farm tractor that struck her as she played in a hay field in rural Nova Scotia.

Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in a release Thursday night that the girl succumbed to her injuries earlier in the evening.

RCMP Sgt. Terry Miller said the child was alone in the field that was being mowed when the accident happened at around 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Clementsvale area.

Miller said the tractor operator was aware of the presence of the child and was planning to stop the machinery when he came around.

But Miller said when the operator turned around and stopped the tractor, he couldn't see the child anywhere and thought she had returned to the house.

Instead, he said, it appears the young girl hid in the deep, metre-high grass.

"The operator had mowed over an area and as he was coming back he was travelling in the swath he had just mowed," Miller said. "The mower was off to the side and he saw a child laying directly in front of him.

"He immediately stopped the tractor and got out and ran to the can imagine it was horrific."

Miller said the girl was visiting her grandparents, whose property is next to the field.

He said the tractor operator is "devastated" by the heartbreaking accident.

Paramedics arrived on the scene in less than 30 minutes, Miller said, and police arrived shortly after.

"Her leg was severed in the accident," he said.

The child was taken to the Annapolis Royal Collaborative Clinic, a 24-hour clinic with emergency care, where she was stabilized.

She was then transported to a causeway that spans the Annapolis River, which is blocked off and used as a landing pad in emergencies, police said. The girl was airlifted to the IWK children's hospital in Halifax.

Police are continuing to investigate the incident, but Miller said there is no suspicion of criminal activity and charges will likely not be laid.

RCMP Cpl. Dione Canning said traffic investigators were on the scene Thursday to investigate the accident.

Miller said it drives home just how dangerous farming can be.

The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting service said in a 2013 news release that an average of 13 children die every year as a result of agricultural incidents in Canada, with more suffering from injuries.

Two years ago, three children in central Alberta died after they were playing on a truck loaded with canola at a rural property east of Rocky Mountain House when they were buried by the seed.