Dramatic video shows rescue of children stranded in Canadian wilderness after family fell down cliff

Dramatic video shows the rescue of two young children after their father says he was forced to leave them alone in the wilderness Tuesday night. The American family, from Georgia, fell down a cliff on Burke Mountain in British Columbia Sunday

The six-year-old girl and seven-year-old boy spent the night alone, while their injured father went for help. The father and his children were on a hike to go fishing on a sunny afternoon before getting lost and falling down a cliff. With no cellphone service, the father decided he had to do whatever he could to save them – even leaving them alone.

The sound of the rescue chopper brought joy and relief to a worried father. After a night alone in the wilderness, his young son and daughter were returned to his side – cold – but without any serious injuries.

"This was really kind of a miraculous rescue," said Coquitlam Search and Rescue's Ian MacDonald, "All of us, you know, we've got kids so it was really elation because this is very rugged terrain where they were lost."

The three had spent the day hiking before getting lost on the trail. Rescue teams say they fell down a "steep, treacherous cliff." When the father determined the kids couldn't climb back up he made the difficult decision to leave, wrapping them in warm clothes and going to call for help. After an all-night search, rescue teams spotted a backpack the father had left behind and knew the kids had to be close.

"The kids did exactly what they were supposed to do. They stayed put. They were invisible, pretty much like a rock, they were hiding underneath a gray sweatshirt," said Brad Rennie of Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue.

"They had big grins of their faces when they lifted … and above all else they didn't move from where their dad told them to stay that was pretty impressive for a 6- and 7-year-old," said search team leader Helena Michelis.

While this story had a happy ending, Canadian officials offered a warning to hikers planning to go out in rugged terrain to make sure to bring multiple survival essentials like a flashlight and a map or GPS.

"A lot of people think if they have a cell phone they only need one essential. But it doesn't work like that. There's vast areas in Canada where this is no cell coverage," warned Ian MacDonald.  

While the rescue teams have still not publicly released the names of the family members, Canadian network CTV was able to get in contact with the mother. She said the search crews were "amazing" and the family is "very grateful."