5 kids missing on paddleboarding trip are found on bank along NC lake, officials say

Screengrab from the Stokes-Rockingham Fire & Rescue Dept. Facebook page
·2 min read

Five children were on a paddleboarding trip when they disappeared on a frigid night in North Carolina, officials said.

Temperatures were in the 30s when crews searched for the kids, who were found safe three hours later on a bank along Belews Lake, according to Stokes County Fire Marshal Scott Aaron.

Officials said six kids were at the lake when their dad went to help one of them warm up in the car on Monday, Jan. 17. That’s when he reportedly lost sight of the other children.

“I couldn’t stand the thought of knowing that maybe there’s kids out there clinging to a paddleboard,” Eric Tumas, who used a searchlight to help spot the kids, told WGHP.

Crews responded to Pine Hall boat landing, roughly 20 miles northeast of Winston-Salem. While there, snow and ice from past wintry weather got in the way of launching boats, Aaron told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

Rescuers received a report about the disappearance at 6:30 p.m. and found the children at about 9:45 p.m. Officials said the kids likely ended up in a cove after wind pushed them there.

The night of the rescue, officials said it was about 35 degrees. The kids weren’t injured but went to Wake Forest Baptist hospital after being exposed to the cold temperatures, according to Aaron.

“This could have been a bad outcome due to the weather conditions and being out on the water,” Brandon Gentry, Stokes County emergency management director, told WFMY.

The Stokes-Rockingham Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department, the lead agency in the rescue, didn’t immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for information on Jan. 18. The agency in a Facebook post said it received help from Stokes County officials as well as the N.C. Department of Transportation, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office and other entities.

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