A day after becoming lost while hiking on Hawk Mountain, two local boys and their grandfather are doing "fine" after being rescued close to midnight Wednesday, the boys' mother said.
"It was probably the worst day of my life," said Elizabeth Christman, recalling Wednesday's hours-long search for the trio in the wildlife sanctuary in Berks County. But she said, "It was a beautiful ending."
Christman said her sons, Garrod, 9, and Griffen, 5, had gone hiking and bird-watching with their grandfather, Robert Durn, on Wednesday morning. She said her dad didn't want her sons to be bored while they were staying with him.
At 2:45 p.m., she said, she talked with her mother, and the boys and their grandfather weren't home yet. An hour later, when the boys were supposed to get picked up, they still weren't home. "So I started to worry," Christman said.
In late afternoon, Hawk Mountain personnel confirmed that her dad's car was still parked at the sanctuary. "So I knew something was wrong," she said.
Search and rescue teams were called and went out on foot and by air. She said family members and friends were getting prepped to join the search teams when, at 11:45 p.m., a searcher named Andrew told the family that the boys and their grandfather had been found about three miles from the entrance and that everyone appeared to be OK.
Christman said they were even able to show her a cellphone photo of the boys and their grandfather until they could be safely led out of the woods.
"Everybody's fine," Christman said, though they have scratches and "they're really bit up" from mosquitos. "Of course my father feels very bad."
Christman said her dad and her sons had gone off a path at Hawk Mountain and had gotten lost. She said her youngest son needed respite, and they had stopped too so that he could nap. (He took three naps). Around 8 p.m., she said, her father decided that they should stay put.
She said they had heard the helicopter in its search but that they were hidden from view by the woods. They had not heard the horns used in the search.
She said Griffen was carried out of the woods while Garrod and her dad were able to walk out. It took about 45 minutes until they could be reunited with family.
Christman said her sons had slept late on Thursday and were playing Wii. They planned to go visit their grandfather.