A mother, her two young kids, and their dog spent a terrifying night lost in the woods a few weeks ago.
They spent the night in the Naugatuck State Forest, while dozens of police and firefighters searched for them.
Thankfully everything turned out okay and the family is okay, but Natalie Van Komen said she wanted to share her story so others will be prepared and not end up in the same situation her family did.
"It just started to get dark. I picked up the pace and said, come on kids we have got to get out of here,” Van Komen said.
She said it’s a night she won’t soon forget.
"It started thundering and lightening and it was pouring rain and so my kids were getting soaking wet, feet were tired, they were cold,” she said.
The Oxford mom was with her 8-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. They had decided to go for a hike around 7 p.m., but before they knew it, they were deep in the woods and the sun was setting quickly.
Her cell phone battery quickly went dead, and they were on their own.
Van Komen said when her husband got home from work around 11:45 p.m. and noticed no one was around, he called police.
That set off a massive search late into the night and early morning and firefighters with ATVs, state and ENCON police, along with k9s and bloodhounds.
“It was our imagination, my daughter, she was up with me, we were so tired, so desperate, we thought we heard something, we started yelling at the top of our lungs, screaming help, wait 10-15 seconds, and we'd scream,” Van Komen said describing the experience.
But no one heard them. Finally, as it continued to rain, she and the kids hunkered down for the night.
"Found a tree, I stomped down the thorns, held my kids, until the pouring rain was gone,” Van Komen said.
With the sun up, they started again, finding a trail marker and eventually making it out of the woods and in pretty good shape, other than some scrapes, bruises, and some blisters.
A passing car on a nearby road stopped to help.
“One car drove by, a few minutes later drove back and she said hey are you the lady on the news. I said I hope not. I just started crying and was like I’m so lost, just please take me home,” Van Komen said.
She said when they do go hiking again it will be early, well before the sun starts to set and she’ll make sure to have a fully charged phone.
Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.