DANBURY, N.C. –It was a busy day in the park.
A park visitor came to the Hanging Rock State Park Visitor’s Center about 4 p.m. to report a family who seemed to be looking for someone who was lost on Hanging Rock Trail.
Two park rangers went to help the family. The family gave them a description of their 14-year-old son, who they had become separated from while hiking.
Sometime between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., they were hiking on the trail. When they took a break, they realized their son was not with them.
The mother came to the visitor’s center to call for help.
The park staff works regularly with the local volunteer fire department and Stokes County EMS.
These two agencies responded and came up with a plan to find the boy. They put crews together and set out to search.
A local neighbor on Overby Road was having a cookout with his friends and family in their front yard and noticed a young man walking up the road.
He reportedly looked tired. They asked him if everything was OK. The boy told them he was lost, so they called the park ranger’s office to report it and gave him food and water.
The lost boy wandered off from the Hanging Rock Trail. There is no explanation right now as to how or why he left the trail.
“Each one of the trails has a different colored mark for each trail,” said Robin Riddlebrger, Park Superintendent . “Before you go on the trail, get your game plan together. Look at your map. The map tells exactly what shape and what color markers you’re looking for.”
Once the boy was found, EMS checked his vitals and met with his mother and released him back to his family.
About a dozen or more family members were on site when the boy went missing.
“He’s definitely lucky. This is a huge park. And to try to find one person in the middle of 8,000 acres. You know, he could be anywhere,” Riddlebarger said.
Between 30 and 100 people helped in the search. This includes seven law-enforcement officers and volunteer firefighters.