BRASOV, Romania – Two British hikers had got lost while trekking through the Carpathian Mountains, and had expected to be at a chalet before it got dark where they would be safe.
But the pair got lost in the unfamiliar territory, with Romania having the largest virgin forest area in Europe, and they were forced to call police on their mobile phones and ask for help.
Rescue workers were then instantly dispatched to the area, which was known to have a large number of bears and even wolves.
Official statistics from the country’s Environmental Ministry say there are around 6,000 bears in the country, and around 4,000 wolves.
Their breeding was encouraged by former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu who was a keen hunter, and who holds the world record for the most bears shot in a single day.
His staff used to feed the bears food laced with sleeping pills so that he could shoot as many as possible, and the only advantage the bears had is that nobody else was allowed to shoot more or bigger bears than the Romanian leader in order not to risk his wrath.
It has left the country with a legacy of both bears and wolves which makes many areas dangerous, especially after dark.
So when the two British tourists aged 21 and 22 got lost in the woodland, police attempted to find them as quickly as possible but were hampered by the fact that the mobile phone battery was quickly dead.
It took rescue workers several hours searching around the tourist trail in the Carpathians in an area named Seven Ladders Canyon, near the village of Timisu de Jos, in Brasov County, Central Romania, before the pair were found.
They said they had been heading to a small mountain range named Piatra Mare, also in Brasov County, where they were expected to stay in a chalet before they got lost.
A police spokesman told local media it was a race against time and that fortunately they had been found in time.
They were then taken by the police to the Dambu Morii where they were supposed to be staying.