Citrus County family hailed as heroes after finding 4 lost kids

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2017, 4:32 PM EST

A Citrus County family is being hailed as heroes after finding four kids lost in the woods near Homosassa on Saturday.

The kids were on a camping trip with their families at the Chassowiskoza River Campgrounds when they disappeared.

They decided to go exploring and ended up lost in the woods on one of the coldest nights of the season.

 Law enforcement was called out at about 3 p.m. and began searching for them. That’s when the Olson family sprung into action.

“My girlfriend wanted to go look for them so we ended up going out and looked for them,” Michael Olson said.

Michael called his dad and they all went to the campgrounds. The family is familiar with the area and thought the kids could be near the river. So, when they saw no law enforcement boats on scene, they decided to head onto the water themselves.

“We got there and we were going to start pulling the boat through the shallow water and as soon as we shut the engine off the kids started yelling for us,” Robert Olson said. “I couldn’t believe it. When he shut the boat off and they started yelling I was like no way. Not that fast.”  

The Olsons say they found the kids within fifteen minutes of launching their boat into the water. The kids had been missing for just over four hours.

Wet, scared, and cold the kids jumped into their boat and the Olsons took them back to shore to be reunited with their families. Three of the kids did have hypothermia.

The Olsons say they’re just glad they found them before it got any worse.

“They would have gotten cold. It got cold last night. It could have been worse,” Michael Olson said.

The kids were treated by Nature Coast EMS at the scene, and are doing OK.