Dutchman rescued after a cold night in the Bosnian mountains: ‘We were afraid’ | Abroad
Two Dutch nationals have been released unharmed after getting lost in the inhospitable mountains of Bosnia yesterday. After a frightening night in the bitter cold, they were rescued by the massive Bosnian emergency services.
Chiel de Groot and Eline Aarts (both 25) head out from Rotterdam on a road trip through the Balkans. Yesterday they decided to hike in the Visocica Mountains, about 35 kilometers south of the capital, Sarajevo. We chose the route from the Internet. But we got lost and by the end of the afternoon it was dark,” says de Groot. “At four o’clock we were completely lost,” says Arts.
We tried five strategies, trying to follow a river for example, or climbing straight up a mountain. But this was very difficult. We did not find a place anywhere. Falls, so we had to go back. Then we realized we had to be saved,” explains de Groot. But they had no range in the hard-to-reach area. “We thought we had to get as high as possible, to receive a signal.” Finally, after hours of climbing, we were able to call a number Emergency at ten o’clock yesterday evening.
The Bosnian emergency services sounded the alarm immediately. The two sent their location over the phone. “We can see from this that they got into a dangerous valley,” explains Fakhruddin Dobraca, director of the Sarajevo Mountain Rescue Service, who led an operation that night with 14 rescuers – all volunteers. We told them not to move if possible. After that, their battery ran out and we lost contact.”
In addition to several dog rescue services, the police also assisted in the search, and the European Union Peacekeeping Force was asked to provide assistance. “We found their car in the village of Popovica. The area they walked from there is very inhospitable, up to 2000 meters high. Last night the temperature was three degrees below zero, in the place where the Dutch were sitting maybe six degrees,” explains Dubraca hastily.
Meanwhile, de Groot and Arts tried to keep warm. We were in an empty area, on a slope, full of wind. We thought they might rescue us with a helicopter, which is why we sat there.” They ate some leftovers from their lunch, cookies and a bag of M&Ms.” Then we got scared. I read online that there are black bears here. Suddenly we heard a noise and were shocked. It turned out to be a renewed record. In the hours that followed, the main fear was: Will we be found in time? “
“The first thing we did was apologize.”
Early in the night the two of them saw people with flashlights, but they were on the other side of a deep chasm that could not be bridged. In the end, it took until about nine in the morning before the Dutch saw the rescuers descend the mountain. “The first thing we did was apologize,” said Arts. “That we were stupid enough to walk here. But they mocked him, not wanting to hear it.” Rescuers provided clothes, blankets and food. “And immediately they wanted a selfie.”
De Groot and Aarts also received their first on-site medical examination. “They had hypothermia and were exhausted, but their condition does not appear to be serious,” lifeguard Dubraca said. We have cured them of their blisters and scrapes. Under these circumstances, they are fortunate.”
Another fifteen kilometers through the mountains
Having been rescued, the Dutch had to walk another fifteen kilometers through the mountains, partly independently and partly with the help of rescuers, to the nearest place the emergency vehicle could reach. From there they were taken to a mountain hut. “When we got there, the place was very busy with the press and people from a nearby village. We didn’t know that what happened to us was so big here,” says de Groot. They underwent a more thorough medical examination at the mountain hut. There seems to be nothing wrong with her.
The two unfortunate tourists plan to continue their Balkan adventure, sleeping on an air mattress in their car. Arts says they first book a night in a comfortable hotel with a hot shower. “And maybe we’ll do a little bit of outdoor activity from now on.”
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