After spending more than 24 hours lost in the Bear Mountain State Park, two Brooklyn teenagers were found safe and well.
The 16-year-old boys, Moshe Tzvi Ledereuch and Yosef Yitzchak Rothman, were part of a 200-person hiking group from Brooklyn. They were reported missing when they didn’t return to the bus Thursday evening.
According to the boys, there were originally six people that were separated from the group, but around 6 p.m., four of the six decided to try to find a way out of the woods. These four were found on 7 Lakes Drive. Rothman and Ledereuch stayed behind with nothing but a bottle of water each.
Fortunately, the boys encountered a hiker on the trail and used his cellphone to call for help. The hiker told the boys where they were so that the park police could find them.
Meanwhile, about 45 members of Friends of Rockland were searching for the missing teens. They were scouring the trails with GPS devices and a drone while the police searched the roads in all terrain vehicles and patrol cars.
Around 11 a.m., Rothman and Ledereuch were taken to the park’s administration building.
Jack Meyer, a member of the search party said that it was a “draining, long night” for them.
“Their friends at camp are waiting for them,” he said.
Ephraim Pilchick, a parent of another child at the same camp said, “They’re not country boys that know the mountains. They’re city boys, OK? These kids have no clue.”
The Brooklyn group was made up of Yeshiva students who have dedicated themselves to studying traditional religious texts, primarily the Torah and Talmud.
Pilchick explained that these kids “are not watching television all day … They don’t have cell phones … They’re sitting in the school studying all day and they’re not worldly people either, which does make it more nerve-wracking.”
Bear Mountain Park is spread across 5,205 acres. It has more than 50 hiking trails covering 235 miles. Hiking these trails can be exhausting, especially if one isn’t wearing the right shoes. In fact, carrying any amount of weight on the feet requires up to 6.4 times as much energy as carrying that same weight on one’s back.
This story, which fortunately had a happy ending, should serve as a reminder to hikers everywhere that separating from a group is never a good idea. Tired hikers should tell their group members and everyone should come to a halt to wait.