02/22/2018 09:35 EST | Updated 02/22/2018 09:35 EST

Toddler Swept Away By Southwestern Ontario Flood Unlikely To Have Survived: Police

Police say the mother lost her grip on the boy and he was swept away.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
Ice is seen in the high waters of the Grand River in Brantford where residents were being evacuated due to flooding after an ice jam upstream of Parkhill Dam sent a surge of water downstream on Feb. 21, 2018.

BRANTFORD, Ont. — Police say they will continue looking for a missing toddler who was swept into floodwaters in southwestern Ontario yesterday, but say it is unlikely the boy has survived.

Heavy rain and mild temperatures pushed the Grand River to breach its banks on Wednesday where a three-year-old boy in a car with his mother plunged into the water near Orangeville, Ont. around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Police say the mother lost her grip on the boy and he was swept away.

Ontario Provincial Police Const. Paul Nancekivell says air and ground crews will continue their search for the boy at first light on Thursday.

He says the search team is now in recovery mode rather than a rescue effort because chances are slim he survived more than 24 hours after the incident.

More than 100 kilometres south along the Grand River, a state of emergency remains in place for the City of Brantford, where nearly 5,000 people in 2,200 homes remain under an evacuation order until at least 12 p.m. Thursday.