Rescue team finds missing girl (7) unharmed

Volunteers responded when the alarm was raised after the girl did not return from a walk with her dog.

22 December 2012 | Mireille de Villiers

LYDENBURG – The family of a little girl who went missing at a lodge yesterday, had a restless night when rescue workers initially couldn’t find her on the rocky terrain.

They continued with the rescue operation and found the seven-year old girl from Potchefstroom in North West at Paardeplaats Lodge early this morning.

Mr Lloyd Turck, a training officer and volunteer with Off Road Rescue Unit (Orru) Nelspruit, said the alarm was raised last night when she went for an exploratory walk on the property with a dog. The animal returned without her.

The rescue team, comprising members of Orru, White River police’s dog unit, the SAPS diving unit, Phoenix Security and volunteers from surrounding farms, started looking for the girl at around 20:00 last night.

Conrad and Sanlie Middelberg with their daughters, Elizca (7), Karin (6) en Sané (2). Photo: Gerda Whitehorn.

When their search of the hills and streams proved fruitless, it was called off for the night at around 01:00 this morning.

Turck said they covered an extensive area during that time.

When the search resumed at first light this morning, just after 05:00, they searched the nearby canyon too.

She was found unharmed at around 08:00.

According to Turck, she was about four kilometres from the lodge, but in the opposite direction of where they had been looking until then.

He said a medical evaluation showed she was unhurt.

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