DANVERS, Mass. (AP) — Authorities in Massachusetts say a family that got lost in a seven-acre corn maze called 911 for help, apparently taking advantage of the police department's motto that says "We Want To Be Bothered."
The maze at Connors Farm in Danvers has pathways totaling seven-miles long and can take up to an hour to navigate.
A police officer and his dog entered the maze with a farm manager on Columbus Day to search for the disoriented father, mother and two children, including a three-weeks-old infant. The family didn't realize they had almost made their way out and were just 25 feet from the street.
It took the search party about 10 minutes to find the family. They were helped by a police dispatcher who stayed on the phone with the caller and asked the couple to yell for help to enable those looking for them to identify their location.
"Never again!" the woman is heard telling the dispatcher on police tapes. "We thought this would be fun, instead it's a nightmare."
The family called police for help after sunset, shortly after the farm's closing time.
"Hi I just called, I'm still stuck at Connor's Farms, I don't see anybody I'm really scared, it's really dark and we've got a three-week-old baby with us," the woman is heard on police tapes telling the dispatcher.
Farm Manager Rich Potter said farm workers had not even checked to see if visitors were still making their way through the maze.
Potter said he only became aware that the family was lost in the maze when a police cruiser pulled up and an officer told him that some people had called for help.
It was not clear how long the family had been wandering through the long corn stalks before they called police, farm owner Bob Connors said.
"We were out in the parking lot and we didn't hear them, so they couldn't have been there too long — I think they got frustrated and called (police) on their own," Connors said. "They could see the street lights, they could hear the cars, they couldn't find their way out."
"We don't want to see anybody get lost and panic and call 911," Connors said. "We constructed the maze for people to get lost and have fun, and 99.9 percent of people do have fun getting lost — but it's unfortunate that this party did get lost, it's got to be a positive family experience, that's our goal."
The maze has several guide posts with clues and posters instructing visitors to send text messages to receive additional guidance to help them make their way out.
"There is no way anybody should be stuck on that maze for any reason," Connors said.