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AshRand Search And Rescue Offers Monthly Search & Rescue Training

8:36 PM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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Randolph County, NC -- "Dakota had something going through his head that we'd die out there but we didn't," 7-year-old Kalob Sanders said Friday morning after a scary night in the woods.

Kalob and three of his friends wandered off in a wooded area near their home on Needham Trail in Seagrove while they were playing in a neighbor's yard.

Read: Missing Randolph County Children Found

It was near freezing, snow was in the forecast and their families still couldn't find them hours past their bedtime.

The three 7-year-olds and one 5-year-old were in the woods for at least seven hours before searchers located them, huddled together on a rock.

"I had an adventure," Kalob said Friday morning.

It was an adventure that the 2nd grader never wants to relive and his dad is more than OK with that.

"I was like an hour from home and...," Matt Sanders broke into tears. "There was nothing I could do but just drive and try to get home."


While dad was rushing home from work Thursday evening, the search for Kalob and his friends was already underway.

"We couldn't find the way to the house because we followed a river and we saw this line at this big rock," Kalob recalled. "It started sleeting and I didn't have a hood. And so the sleet got on my head and I was getting cold...dogs kept on barking so we couldn't go to sleep."


He says the later and darker it got, the more scared they became.

"They cried and I didn't," the 7-year-old said proudly.

Back in the woods, Kalob says 6 PM turned into 7 PM , then 8 PM and before they knew it was midnight.

"We couldn't find the house so we just went to the rock and slept on it," the 7-year-old said. "I heard people calling, 'Kalob, Britney,' and stuff."


For dad, it was the part of the night where he and his wife were emotionally spent, hoping for a miracle.

"I was just praying and keeping faith that the Lord would take care of them," Sanders said, his voice breaking and with tears welling in his eyes. "It's a relief. Like an elephant coming off your chest."

Rescue workers were concerned the children may have gotten hypothermia, but because they stayed together and huddled, they were able to preserve body heat.

And that's one of the things the Ash-Rand Search & Rescue team wants you to teach your children in case they ever get lost. 
The team hosts a "Hug A Tree & Survive" program for children ages 5 through 9.

The kids learn things like staying put when they realize they are lost.

They also learn to hug a tree, lie on pine needles, or leaves instead of lying on a rock.

The tree will help keep them warm but a rock will suck heat way, according to Ash-Rand Search & Rescue Assistant Chief Tommy McNeill.

And thirdly, tell your child if they hear someone call out their name, they should respond and not think they are in trouble.

If you have a church, community or school group you want to sign up for the 20-minute course, you can call 336-625-3354

McNeill says they couldn't have saved the children without volunteers from all over Randolph County.

And it helped that many of them knew what they were doing.

He says parents of the missing kids did the right thing when they realized the children were gone.

They called 911 right away instead of going off deep in the woods themselves to search for the children.

McNeill explains that is sometimes the difference between a happy outcome and a parent's nightmare.

"If you go out on your own and start looking for the child, you can destroy the evidence, you can mess up the scent for the dogs that they may use, those are some things that are very valuable that we're able to get in there first," explained McNeill

Ash-Rand Search & Rescue hosts a monthly search and rescue training for people interested in joining the team.

The next one is scheduled for Wednesday February 27th at 7 PM in the center at 805 S. Cox St. in Asheboro.

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