Volunteers spent hours searching for two missing children found - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Volunteers spent hours searching for two missing children found safe

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

Search and rescue crews spent nearly 12 hours looking for two children, who disappeared from a home in Soddy Daisy, Tuesday. 

4-year-old Gideon and 7-year-old Hannah Musgrave disappeared from their front porch around 8:30 Tuesday night. Crews searched high and low for the them, some even volunteered their time through the night time hours. 45 first responders and trained volunteers from several agencies split up into four teams to cover more ground. Here's a look at the areas they searched. Team 1 searched a nearby junkyard, including every vehicle there. Team 2 looked around the children's house. Team 3 covered the surrounding area and the grandparents house and Team 4 went through the trails nearby.

Rescue crews tell Channel 3 News the terrain was tough, even for adults. They feared thick brush, steep drop-offs, snakes and coyotes. 

"The weather was real good last night but they could still fall down a bluff there is 2 to 3 bluffs up there," said Clay Ingle, Hamilton County STARS.

After more than 12 hours in the deep woods, 4-year-old Gideon and 7-year-old Hannah escaped with only scratches, bug bites and severe poison ivy. Officials believe they traveled barefoot about 2-miles in the dark through thick brush and briars. Their dog Samber never left their side, officials credit her for keeping the children safe. They say she even helped lead them out of the woods, Wednesday morning. 

"The children are doing absolutely wonderful to say the least, they've been up most of the night," said Amy Maxwell

Fearing the worst, Hamilton County Special Tactical and Rescue Services called a search party. More than 60 volunteers from 12 different agencies including fire and police responded. 

"This terrain was such, we probably had about a mile and a half area that we could search around the house safely at that time of night," said Chief Ingle. 

They combed through the woods for several hours in complete darkness. 

"We also had a helicopter up with an infra-red flair unit but after he left we took our hand held flare units and walked the road looking at both sides with flashlights," said Chief Ingle.

Trained volunteers searched the family's home, grandparents' home nearby, a local junkyard and surrounding woods, then they searched again at daybreak. Authorities called ahead to warn passing trains to slow down, because there were railroad tracks in the neighborhood. Shortly after day break a resident spotted the kids huddled near a cell phone tower. He called 9-1-1 for help. The children were immediately re-united with their family at the base of the mountain. It was a tearful moment for family and volunteers. 

"When it's kids, when you find out they're okay... it's just like a big celebration because you never want kids to be hurt," said Chief Ingle. "Just to find out they're safe that makes everything we do everything we train for everyday, we volunteer for worth it all."

The kids were hungry and scared, they were given water, snacks and a lot of hugs. To be on the safe side ----both kids were taken to the hospital for a check up and officials say they're doing well.
 

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