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Our seven hours of hell until we found our little Torben safe

A DAD has described the touching moment he found his toddler son who had been missing overnight in a forest.

Dubliner Brian O'Shea, who endured the nightmare of losing his other three children in a car crash in Denmark in July last year, told how he had gone looking for 19-month-old Torben at first light after the infant disappeared while picking berries.

The family, who live in Australia, had returned to Denmark for the first anniversary of the deaths of Soren (11), Saoirse (9), and Connor (3). The children lost their lives when a speeding driver crashed into their car near their mother Maria's family home in Denmark.

Speaking about the night Torben - who is a nephew of chef Kevin Dundon - went missing last month, Brian said that they had been out berry picking. "Torben became separated from us at 9.30 at night.

search

"We couldn't find him and we ended up calling in police choppers," he said. Dogs were also brought in as part of the extensive search.

"We were told that we would get in the way of the dogs. The scent gets confused so we had to go back and wait," he said.

Brian said that it was raining that night. At first light he went looking for his son, in what was a very "scary" situation.

"You can't imagine how much strength he gives us. His happiness every day is just amazing," he said.

"And then suddenly we can't find him and the police can't find him and all of the resources that were employed.

"I couldn't sit on my hands waiting. So I went out. I followed the route that I felt he would have taken."

Brian went back to where he thought had been covered quite extensively and followed the contours to where Torben might have been able to walk, 
and "on a brow of a hill I looked across and I saw him".

"It would have looked like a tree stump in the darker light," he explained.

"He was just lying there completely still. I just ran down and his eyes were wide open, there was nothing."

Brian said that he shouted, but there was no movement from his son.

"I went to pick him up and he was cold on the front. But my fingers had just gone in underneath his arm pit and I could feel the heat from him and then he cried."

missing

He said that his son was awake. "I can't imagine what that little boy went through with helicopters overhead and the noise was unbelievable."

Brian told Newstalk presenter Pat Kenny: "I do think he went and had a sleep."

Thankfully, little Torben was completely fine after being missing for seven hours, apart from being tired and hungry.

They put him in a bath to raise his core temperature. "He had a bottle of milk and then the next thing he was running around," his dad said.

Following the death of their children, Brian and Maria have set up a charity in their memory called The Three Musketeers Children's Fund.

Brian said that it has already funded the re-building of a clinic in Gambia which services 15,000 people and worthwhile projects in other countries including Uganda, Cambodia and Thailand have also been started.

And in a touching tribute to his children he said that they were "amazing little kids".

fdillon@herald.ie


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