herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Dad's tears after being reunited with missing son

AN IRISH toddler who survived a horror car crash that killed his siblings sparked a major police search when he went missing in a forest.

Torben O'Shea (18 months) wandered off when picking berries with parents Maria and Brian near his grandparents' home in Denmark.

Brian, from Dalkey, south Dublin, described the family's fresh ordeal as "terrifying", saying it was seven hours before he found the little boy cold, but alive and uninjured, at 5am on Sunday.

speeding

The toddler's disappearance came almost a year after the O'Sheas' other children - Soren (11), Saoirse (9) and Connor (3) - lost their lives when a speeding driver ploughed into their car near Maria's family home in north Denmark.

Maria and Torben suffered minor injuries in the horrific crash that occurred last July 16, with Brian not in the car at the time.

Last night Brian said he prayed to Torben's siblings for help finding him, adding: "They came through for us."

"We had friends over from Ireland and were out in the countryside on a dirt track picking berries at around 9.30pm when Torben got separated from us."

While Maria stayed with their friends, Brian had gone walking by himself. Both parents believed Torben was with the other one.

The parents began a frantic search.

"When we discovered Torben was missing we thought 'how far can he go, he's only 80cm tall and just starting to walk'."

Brian explained: "The police scrambled a dog team and two helicopters with infrared cameras to find him. They threw everything they had into the search.

"Torben was wearing only a T-shirt and dungarees. We were really afraid that the temperature would drop. There is also a stream nearby and if he had fallen in, we would have lost him forever."

As the evening wore on and Torben still hadn't been found the O'Sheas feared the worst.

Brian said: "Last year kept coming back to me. As I was heading down from a ridge I spotted a little patch of blue. It was Torben in his dungarees.

"His eyes were open - he was rigid and didn't reply when I called his name. I lifted him up and felt his body heat. I knew then he was okay.

"I asked his brothers and sister to help find him. They came through for us," said a relieved Brian.

It is almost a year to the day since Torben and his mother Maria survived the horror crash that killed his siblings.

Lasse Burholt, the speeding Danish driver who smashed into their Berlingo, was subsequently found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He was fined €1,340.

The O'Sheas - who are related to celebrity chef Kevin Dundon - have founded a charity in their children's name called The 3 Musketeers Chidren's Fund.

hnews@herald.ie

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