Helicopter, Drones Searched for 9-Year-Old Boy – Later Found Sound Asleep in Friend’s Bed

TF-GRÓ Icelandic Coast Guard Helicopter

An extensive search was carried out on the night before Thursday for a nine-year-old boy who was believed to have gone missing from a summer camp in Vatnaskógur, West Iceland. A search-and-rescue team was dispatched alongside the Coast Guard’s helicopter. The boy was later discovered to be asleep in a friend’s bed, RÚV reports.

“An unbelievable series of events”

“I can’t describe how relieved I was. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy,” Þráinn Haraldsson, Director of the YMCA/YWCA summer camps in Vatnaskógur, West Iceland, told RÚV yesterday.

Prior to the interview, Þráinn had sent an email, in which he described something of an unbelievable series of events, to the parents of the campers. The letter recounted how the boys at the camp had retired to bed at about 11 PM on Wednesday night. When the camp counsellors made their rounds at 1 AM, however – they noticed that one of the beds was empty.

The counsellors immediately began searching for the missing boy: all rooms were entered, heads were counted, and the surrounding area was combed. To no avail.

Þráinn told RÚV that there was nothing else to do in the situation but to notify the parents and phone the police. The police then requested the aid of ICE-SAR (The Icelandic Association for Search, Rescue, Injury Prevention), which arrived with sniffer dogs and a thermal drone. The Coast Guard’s helicopter was also dispatched.

May have sleepwalked

As noted by Þráinn, the helicopter had been hovering over the area for all of about ten minutes – when the boy was found, sleeping soundly in his friend’s bed. “All things suggest that he had walked in his sleep. We monitor the cabins at night, but we don’t see everything that happens. It seems that he went into another room and wound up in another boy’s bed. He was hidden under the covers, so we couldn’t see him,” Þráinn told RÚV.

Þráinn maintains that the summer camp’s staff, the police, and rescue workers had searched the cabin four times without finding the boy. He was found on the fifth attempt. “He was really sorry about the whole situation, but he is here with us now and plans to finish the summer camp,” Þráinn observed. He expects to one day appreciate the humour of the situation, although not until he has fully recovered from the shock.

The email to the campers’ parents states that most of the boys had slept through the hullabaloo. A team of experienced workers arrived in Vatnaskógur yesterday morning to give those who were on duty last night a little rest. “The YWCA and the YWCA and the Vatnaskógar staff would like to express their sincere thanks to the police, the rescue team, the boy’s parents, and all those who helped us out on Thursday morning,” the email concludes by saying.