Brother and sister found safe and well after going missing on bike ride
A YOUNG brother and sister, who were lost for almost 12 hours on a woodland bike ride, were praised by their rescuers yesterday after they were found safe and well, following a major air and land search.
Lara Rydlewicz, 14, and her brother Matthew, 12, took the wrong turn in a densely wooded area on the slopes of Bennachie, the distinctive range of peaks which dominate the landscape of eastern Aberdeenshire.
As darkness fell, the siblings, dressed only in T-shirts and shorts, settled down in a stretch of open ground as they waited for rescuers to locate them.
They were spotted in the early hours of yesterday morning – more than 11 hours after setting out – by the crew of an RAF search and rescue helicopter equipped with heat-seeking equipment.
Chief Inspector Andrew Todd, the leader of Grampian Police mountain rescue team who co-ordinated the search, said: “It’s a great result. The children did exactly the right thing once they got lost. They didn’t wander about aimlessly and they just decided to stop, try and keep themselves warm and wait for rescue.
“They heard the helicopter and were very quick to react, get to open ground and wave at it wildly.”
He added: “For 12- and 14-year-olds it must have been a really scary experience.”
Lara and Matthew, pupils at Mintlaw Academy, were on a cycle trip on a route flanking the slopes of Bennachie, near Inverurie. The children, who stay near the village of Maud, were due to cycle from the main Bennachie visitor centre to a car park at the Back o’ Bennachie on the opposite side of the hill, where they were to be reunited with their parents, Mervyn and Alison.
But somehow the pair ended up heading north on to the Gordon Way, an 11-mile route through the Bennachie Forest.
Recovering at home yesterday, Lara said: “We were on a trail we had been following for ages and we got lost. We ended up in a forestry area and we decided to turn back because we couldn’t see any sign of a car park.”
As the rain began to fall in the darkness, the brother and sister decided to go no further.
“We were too tired to carry on,” said Lara. “It was pitch black. We had nothing to drink.
“We went into an open area between the trees. We slept for a while, but then it got really cold. Matthew said ‘They are probably looking for us right now – they will look for us for three days and presume we’re dead’.”
Shortly after 1:30am, the children heard a helicopter.
“We managed to get up and wave,” said Lara. “The helicopter landed a short distance away. We were really happy to see them. We had got a bit scared when it got really, really dark.”
Mr Rydlewicz, an oil industry trainer, and his wife had been frantic with worry when the children failed to arrive at their rendezvous point.
He said: “We doubled back to the Bennachie centre and alternated between the two car parks and the end of the Gordon Way. At 9pm we decided we needed help. We were becoming desperate by that stage.”
Mr Rydlewicz added: “The response was excellent. And then we got this fantastic news they had been spotted.
“I am very proud of them. They didn’t panic and just sat down and waited for someone to come and help them.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West