OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - A long and harrowing waiting game is finally over for an East Bay family. Two missing children are safe and sound and their father will soon be heading home from the Sierra.
The kids arrived home on Friday afternoon. It was a poignant moment because they were greeted by their uncle and aunt who had both flown from across the country to be here for them.
Three-year-old Mimi and 5-year-old Nick were overwhelmed with love when they got back to their grandparents' home. "I'm so happy right now," said Uncle Alex Vlahos as he held Nick.
The two children had had their family worried sick for the past couple days because along with their father, they had disappeared on a camping trip on Tuesday.
They weren't found until two days later. "We're so blessed, we're so happy. And again, I want to thank all our friends and family that prayed so much for us and sent out so many positive vibes for us. We're very blessed, very fortunate," said Uncle Alex.
This all started last weekend when Nick and Mimi's father took them camping in Sierra County. As they started heading home on Tuesday, they ran into trouble. "He was going up this ATV trail, which was kind of small for a truck that size, and the soil underneath the downside collapsed. And the truck slid down the slope into a tree," explained the kids' step-grandfather, Bob Wehmeyer.
He added it was a tough couple days. "Really worried about what was going on. And couldn't get ahold of them in any way."
The concern quickly spread to the rest of the family. "We had very minimal information, and cell phones didn't work that great up there. So, I think we had a lot of worst case scenarios going on in our head," said Uncle Alex.
But as was shown in photos the kids' father posted to Instagram, and as the family said, it was just an extended camping trip in the kids' eyes. "I think I would lose it maybe if I was in that situation. But Nick like put a blanket in a tree," as a signal to rescue crews, said Aunt Katrina Wehmeyer.
What their father did worked, and everyone was pulled out by helicopter. "Such relief, like oh my God, they're safe," exclaimed Bob Wehmeyer.
About an hour after arriving home, little Nick and his aunt Katrina came to look at our KTVU live truck, and he said what his favorite thing was about this week. "Riding in the helicopter," said Nick, adding, " It was not scary!"
He's a funny kid who seems no worse for the wear.
The family says there is a silver lining to this scary incident. Everyone will be here on Sunday for Mother's Day.