Home > News > Archive > 23rd August 2007

Lost-in-bush boy Caleb thanks volunteers

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Caleb Dowty
LIT UP: Four-year-old Caleb Dowty enjoyed turning on the flashing lights on the PIrongia Fire Force tanker in Saturday’s downpours when he visited the crew who helped find him, including grandfather Des Barr (in cab with Caleb) and from left: Bruce Budd, Bill Reymer, Peter Neuhauser, Sheryl Ellis, Tracey de Thierry. Absent from photo were Rahna Stannard, Alan Dalton and Simon Fuller. 235071AD

By Grant Johnston

Four-year-old Caleb Dowty visited Pirongia Fire Force last weekend to thank them for their efforts in his rescue the weekend before.

Caleb, who has Downs Syndrome, was lost in bush at the Walter Scott Reserve at Ngutunui on the slopes of Mt Pirongia on the Sunday afternoon. He was found at about 5am Monday, wet and tired, but otherwise in good spirits.

Caleb was just 100m away from the reserve and about 30 metres off the track, but as police said, ‘that is a long way in the dark’.

Search and Rescue teams from Waitomo, Hamilton and the Hamilton Police were joined by family, friends and the Pirongia Fire Force in the all-night search. Using the grid search method, the 100 people, in teams of 12, searched a relatively large area under the control of Te Awamutu Police. Their main concern was that Caleb may have fallen into one of the numerous small waterways on the area.

Parents Mark and Melanie Dowty, say they are indebted to everyone who assisted.

“Things were so busy on the night it was impossible to thank everyone in person.”

Police praised everyone for their efforts, especially Pirongia Fire Force volunteers who were on the job ‘for the duration’.

It is one of many roles carried out by the Fire Force. Fire Force volunteers were busy working on their building alterations when the Dowtys called in on Saturday. They are currently fundraising for the $200,000 upgrade to their facilities, which will assist in providing a first class service to the community and to training volunteers and cadets.

Donations can be posted to Pirongia Voluntary Rural Fire Force c/- PO Box 402, Te Awamutu (supply contact details for acknowledgement) or dropped off at Te Awamutu Copy and Digital Print Centre in United Arcade. For more information phone David Bowler at 871 6030.