The two young girls who were missing for several hours in the Vandenberg Village area Tuesday night reportedly had gotten lost in heavy brush on their way to a nearby pond, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
The girls, reportedly both 8 years old, had last been seen about 7 p.m. at Cabrillo High School.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Williams reported at about 11:40 p.m. that he was notified the girls had been located.
The girls, who are cousins, were reported missing by their grandfather when he could not find them near the school softball fields, said Sheriff’s Lt. Brad McVay.
Family members reported that the girls had been playing around the school while a brother of one of the girls was in football practice, he said.
After an initial search was unsuccessful, a sheriff’s helicopter and the Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue Team were called in to assist. Five deputy sheriffs, Military Police from Vandenberg Air Force Base in all-terrain vehicles, a Santa Barbara County Helicopter and two Sheriff’s canine teams also assisted.
A reverse 9-1-1 call went out to alert local residents to watch for the girls, which prompted more than 100 people to go to the fields and assist in the search.
Sheriff’s canine teams tracked the girls from the location where they’d last been seen and followed a trail that surrounds the softball fields, McVay said.
The girls were located and told searchers they had tried following the trail to a pond in the area but became lost, he said.
Both girls were escorted back to the high school and were reunited with their families.