Unfortunately, when a child gets lost while wandering alone, especially in the wilderness, the risk of not finding them alive again is very, very big. The Hathaway family feared of the exact thing when their 3-year-old son Casey got lost in the woods during the cold North Carolina winter. Incredibly, they found the kid three days later alive and well. Do you wonder who helped him survive in the wilderness? A bear.
3-Year-Old Says A Bear Kept Him Warm While He Was Lost In The Woods
3-year-old Casey Hathaway was at his grandmother’s house in North Carolina in January 2019. He was playing with two other children in the backyard, but when his friends went inside, he was not with them. His parents say he is a very curious child, so they thought that maybe he got interested in something and wandered off to explore. When his grandmother figured out that he was nowhere near, she asked for help from the police.
“He was walking in the woods back there and we can’t find him,” the grandmother told the 9-1-1 dispatcher. “The other ones come through the house but left him there and he walked off somewhere and we can’t find him.”
The search for the little kid started at once, as the incoming weather was set to be quite bad. The first night the child was missing, the temperatures dropped to 20F, and the subsequent night it was cold with heavy rainfall. The conditions were terrible, actually, so bad that the search had to be called off. And logically, the family was losing hope quickly. The chances of finding him were not good. The chances of finding him alive were even lower.
Helicopters, drones, k-9 units, divers, and hundreds of volunteers were involved in the search. Authorities urged volunteers to stay away the second night because of the terrible conditions. Not at all dressed for such conditions, the family had almost no hope.
Then, after two nights, rescue teams responded to a person who reported hearing a baby crying in the woods. They did some searching, and they finally found Casey tangled up in some thorny bushes. The rescuers had to wade through waist-high water to get to the little child. Casey was cold and wet with a few minor scratches, but alive and well. He only wanted some water and his mother.
A Friendly Bear
Everyone was amazed and asked the question how this tiny little child survived two nights in freezing, rainy weather like that being that well, with only a few scratches? His family found out how later when the doctors examined him at the hospital. As Casey says, he made a friend in the woods who helped to keep him warm. That helpful friend was, surprisingly, a black bear.
“He said he hung out with a bear for two days,” Breanna Hathaway, his aunt, wrote on Facebook. “God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is a good God. Miracles do happen.”
Of course, the story sounds almost unbelievable. And when a curious, imaginative 3-year-old child tells it, it is even more unbelievable. Certainly, there is no way to either confirm or deny his stories and explanations. There are many black bears in North Carolina, so encountering one is not impossible at all. Yet, becoming a friend with one of them and having her snuggle you and keep you warm in the harsh winter nights? Well, perhaps we will never know that.
The important thing is that this story has a happy ending. It could have a tragic end, like so many others before. Instead, Casey was found alive, well, and unharmed. A true bear friend, or an imaginary one, that’s something to be celebrated.