Missing boy found safe in wooded area

Nash Bass

Nash Bass

Tragedy was averted late Thursday evening after a little boy who wandered away from home was found nearly five hours later.

“He was in good spirits,” said Const. Ed Sanchuk with the Norfolk County OPP. “He was cold.”

Nash Bass, 3, was discovered by a member of the Norfolk County Fire and Rescue Services under a tarp at about 11:30 p.m.

“He (a firefighter) heard what sounded to be a young person's voice,” said Norfolk County fire prevention officer Ken Sheridan.

Members of Norfolk County Fire and the OPP's emergency response team and K-9 services were called to help locate the toddler at 8:20 p.m. Bass was last seen by his parents around 6:45 p.m.

Emergency personnel formed search crews to scan the area around the family's Old Brock Road home in Vittoria. Neighbours and concerned community members also joined in the search, between 100 and 200 people in total, said Sanchuk.

“There was an overwhelming response from the community,” he said.

The youngster was found between one and 2 kilometres away from his home in an isolated area beneath a steep embankment.

Norfolk County Fire and Rescue does not have any specific training for on-foot search and rescue efforts. However, they were able to utilize the skills they have acquired through experience in locating individuals during structure fires as well as their water search and rescue training.

“Thankfully we don't get many of these situations,” said Sheridan.

The boy was taken to Norfolk General Hospital as a precautionary measure after he was discovered in the woods. At the time he was wearing winter clothing, including a toque, however temperatures dipped as low as -9C in Norfolk County on Thursday, according to Environment Canada.

“With the way the weather was (Thursday) night, this could have been a fatal but we are happy he was found safe and sound,” said Sanchuk.

Sanchuk said the situation provided the perfect opportunity to educate children and family members of the dangers of wandering without telling someone first.

If a similar situation were to ever happen, Sanchuk recommends searching for the missing child or person right away.

“You want to get out there and look around,” he said. If you cannot find the person, contact police. “It is what we are here for.”

In most cases the person is usually found quickly but if there is a real emergency, “You don't want to have too much time go by,” said Sanchuk.

Sarah Doktor

519-426-3528 ext. 112

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