Disappeared during a hike: Eight-year-old German missing in the Czech Republic

A family from Berlin wants to spend a hiking weekend on the German-Czech border. After parents lose sight of their children while playing, all they can find is their son and the family’s nephew. Now 200 emergency services are looking for the eight-year-old daughter.

Hundreds of police officers, firefighters and other helpers comb through the dense forest around the Czech mountain Cerchov (Schwarzkopf), about two kilometers from the Bavarian border town of Waldmünchen. A police helicopter circled over the rough terrain for hours. Everyone is looking for an eight year old girl from Berlin.

The area used to mark the border between the West and the Eastern Bloc. Somewhere there is still an old radar system that was used to eavesdrop on the class enemy. Today the Bohemian Forest National Park, which borders the Bavarian Forest, is an idyllic recreational area. A family from Berlin went hiking here on Sunday – the couple’s son, daughter and nephew were playing in the forest. At some point, the police say, the parents lost sight of the three children. Fearful, they called the rescue workers. The couple’s six-year-old son and nine-year-old nephew were finally found early Sunday evening. The eight-year-old daughter disappeared – and at some point it got dark and very cold.

According to information from the Czech news agency CTK, after the disappearance, around 200 police officers and firefighters took part in the search in the vicinity of Cerchov, the highest elevation in the Upper Palatinate Forest. During the night and in the morning, the temperatures in the densely wooded area were around freezing point – despite all efforts, the girl disappeared. The police do not believe that there has been a crime, the child has probably lost his way.

On Monday lunchtime, the Upper Palatinate police headquarters started a public search with a photo of the missing eight-year-old. There is an intensive search for her around the mountain, said Dominic Stigler from the police headquarters in Regensburg. On Monday afternoon, over 700 emergency services from Bavaria and the Czech Republic were at times involved in the search, according to Stigler – including riot police, fire brigade, mountain rescue services and rescue dog squadron. More than 40 people search dogs went on the trail of the missing girl.

“It is difficult terrain, there is deep forest all around,” said Czech police spokeswoman Dana Ladmanova. All available forces are on site, from riot police to firefighters. Foresters and employees of the Bohemian Forest National Park (Sumava), who are familiar with the impassable and sometimes rocky terrain, also help in the search. The eight-year-old’s family is being looked after psychologically and questioned by the police at the same time, said police spokesman Stigler. Can parents, brother and cousin say roughly where they lost sight of the girl? “It’s a huge forest area,” says the police spokesman. “So it is of course difficult for a six-year-old and a nine-year-old to locate it.”

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