Toddler safe after two freezing nights on mountain

2018-07-02 11:02
Ladysmith K9 Search and Rescue Warrant Officer Jacques Meyer carries the two-year-old girl who went missing in the Bergville mountains for two days. She was found alive against all odds on Friday morning near the top of a mountain.

Ladysmith K9 Search and Rescue Warrant Officer Jacques Meyer carries the two-year-old girl who went missing in the Bergville mountains for two days. She was found alive against all odds on Friday morning near the top of a mountain. (Claudine Senekal)

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A toddler’s safe return home on Friday morning was deemed a “miracle” by rescue workers.

The two-year-old Bergville girl was found alive after spending two nights in the Bergville mountains in sub zero temperatures, wearing only a thin T-shirt and a pair of pants.

The little girl went missing from outside a family friend’s home in Bergville on Wednesday afternoon sparking a frantic search.

By Thursday morning, the toddler’s family and members of the community were in a panic, fearing the worst after an icy cold night with temperatures sinking to -3° Celsius.

Members of the Pietermaritzburg, Okhahlamba and Ladysmith K9 Search and Rescue Units were called out on Thursday morning and searched until 10 pm that evening before calling it a night.

An officer at the scene said they called off the search that night due to the uneven terrain and because it was too dark to see anything.

But early Friday the search and rescue team members returned to the area to resume the desperate search, in the hope that against all odds the little girl may be found alive.

Their prayers were answered.

“We had been looking for around an hour and we were walking up one of the mountains near the family house when one of the other search teams heard a child crying,” said the source. “We all went up, and there she was, near the top of the mountain.”

The source said the little girl was “freezing cold” but otherwise seemed unharmed. “It’s nothing short of a miracle”, he said.

Ladysmith journalist, Claudine Senekal, said she was so touched that she had “cried with joy” when she saw one of the police officers carrying the little girl down the mountain — alive.

“There have been to so many scenes that have ended in tears and heartbreak. I had a cry when I saw she was safe because there is almost never a happy ending to these sorts of stories,” she added.

In an emotional reunion with her daughter, the little girl’s mother wrapped her arms around her daughter in a warm bear hug the moment police placed her in her arms.

Senekal said it was a happy day for everyone who had been involved in the search as the little girl was found alive.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said however a case of child neglect will be opened for investigation by Bergville police.

He added that the child was taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention and check-up after her ordeal.

The names of the child and her mother were withheld at the request of police.

 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  missing child
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