02-20-2010, 05:36 AM #1
Man's Best friend... little girls too.
Victoria was lost, lying amid the brush and rocks.
The 3-year-old's feet were swollen, her body covered in dirt and scratches. The temperature had dipped into the mid-30s, and she was wearing little more than a T-shirt. She had been out all night.
With her in the cold was her best friend, one she had known her whole life. He was a Queensland Healer named Blue.
As the sun rose over the pair Friday morning, a Department of Public Safety helicopter hovered overhead. Searchers saw Victoria. The girl was lying on the ground. The dog was right next to her.
For nearly 15 hours, relatives and authorities had been looking for Victoria Bensch, a little girl who wandered away from her Cordes Lakes home north of the Valley. A massive ground search ran throughout the night.
In the morning, after the rescue, Victoria was taken by helicopter to Phoenix Children's Hospital. She was treated for mild frostbite on her feet and was expected to stay only so that doctors could make sure she was in good shape.
And Blue was doing just fine.
"The dog kept her alert, warm and gave her companionship throughout a very cold night," said Dwight D'Evelyn, spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
The family, the search party, everyone was elated that the girl was found safe after her night in the cold. One sergeant, D'Evelyn said, had called it a "miracle."
"We have to give a lot of credit to Blue," Kim Rayfield, the girl's aunt said. "He pretty much stayed with her all night."
Only Victoria and Blue know what they saw that night. But her family and state and county authorities pieced together what they believed happened.
Early Thursday, Victoria and Blue were bouncing on a trampoline at her family's home in a rugged part of Cordes Lakes that borders open state land. Later that day, they were playing on the porch. About 5 p.m., Victoria wandered off to find the family's other dog, Rusty, which she mistakenly thought had walked off.
Not long after, her parents noticed her missing. They searched for Victoria for more than an hour but could not find the precocious and independent girl. Authorities were called; a search was launched.
Rescue teams scoured the area all night. They donned large down jackets and scarves as the temperature dropped. They yelled her name and walked through the brush.
The whole community pulled together, using horses, scent dogs and all-terrain vehicles. Some of the searchers carried high-intensity lights; others wore night-vision goggles. But the brush was heavy and the terrain was rocky.
Cars leaving the area were stopped and searched for signs of the girl all night long. Detectives and officers spent the night contacting registered sex offenders in the area.
By 7 a.m., they had almost completely ruled out the possibility of abduction. About 30 minutes later, the DPS helicopter launched.
After only about five minutes in the air, DPS pilot Matthew Uhl and medic Eric Tarr spotted Blue. He was in a dry creek bed about a half-mile away from Victoria's home. Then, they saw Victoria.
"She wasn't moving when we first came upon her," Uhl said. "She was kind of just looking face-down on the ground."
She rose to her knees next. The helicopter landed about 50 yards away, and Tarr, the medic, approached the girl.
At first, Blue seemed apprehensive, as if he was protecting Victoria. The girl smiled, and Blue's mood changed.
"I think once the dog realized we were there to help them out, he was very excited," Uhl said. "He ran around while the medic tended to the little girl, and when it was time to go, he jumped right into the helicopter and was ready to go."
The word went out over the police radios that the girl was safe.
"These kind of things weigh heavy on our rescue teams, so they were just excited when they found her," D'Evelyn said. "I could hear the excitement over the scanner when the crews found her."
At the hospital, Victoria's mother and father were by her side. She was all smiles. Ernest Bensch, the dad, said he was going to get her some of her favorite chicken. "I am so very much relieved to have her back," Bensch said. "I will finally be able to sleep tonight."
02-20-2010, 08:11 AM #2
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
02-20-2010, 01:43 PM #3
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Lake Havasu
I saw that last night on Fox 10. An amazing story!!
02-20-2010, 02:11 PM #4
02-20-2010, 06:18 PM #5
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