2 Teens found after disappearing on family camping trip in Orange

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Two seven-year-old girls who disappeared during a family camping trip will be nominated for an award for their bravery, the state’s ambulance service says.  The young girls, Marley Aplin and her friend Rhianna, were winched to safety nearly 20 hours after they went missing in rugged bushland near Orange, in central western NSW.

NSW Ambulance Chief Inspector Rhys Dive said he feared the worst when the call came in that two young girls were missing.

“When we received the call that two young girls were missing we obviously feared the worst, we responded up to the Ophir area and have been there ever since.

“They are two amazing young girls who are super brave and really good friends … we will be nominating them for a NSW Ambulance Star Award for their bravery and looking after each other.”

The girls did not return to the campsite with other family members in the afternoon, sparking a major search involving police helicopters and flood boats. “They spent the night in the bush last night together, they managed to stay together, it would have been scary for a grown-up, let alone two young seven-year -lds”, Inspector Dive said.

The two girls spent the night freezing together after they got lost chasing a kangaroo, Marley’s grandfather, Ron Pearson, said.

“They found them alive and well and everything was OK,” Mr Pearson said, as reported by The Daily Telegraph.

“They just wandered off. They were chasing a kangaroo but then they lost all sense of direction.

“The girls just camped overnight apparently. Marley said they got some leaves and grass and made a pillow and went to sleep.”

The children had been climbing hills and were last seen on the opposite bank of a fast-flowing creek at Ophir Reserve in Ophir about 4pm on Saturday.

Police said the girls had been found by four volunteer searchers about 11.30am on Sunday on the riverbank about two kilometres upstream from the campsite.

They had minor cuts but were “safe and well” and taken to Orange Base Hospital as a precaution.

A spokeswoman for the Orange Health Service said the girls were in a stable condition.

Mr Pearson said Marley’s mother Mardi was devastated when she couldn’t find the girls after a day of bushwalking.

The campsite was located near a creek and pond, and the reserve was dotted with relics from its mining past, including abandoned shafts and tunnels.

Family members and emergency service workers remained at the campsite, about 25 kilometres north of Orange, overnight.

Cabonne Council mayor Ian Gosper said the bushland was dense.

“It is quite rugged. It is quite a steep area,” Cr Gosper said.

“It’s an old goldmining area that is a popular recreation area for bushwalkers. A lot of people go there.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Neale Fraser said temperatures had dropped to 1 degree in the area overnight. Visibility was good on Sunday, with rain expected to fall late on Monday morning.

“For much of the night it would have been about 5 or 6 degrees until the early hours of the morning, when it dropped to 1 degree by 6am,” he said.

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