Lost family prompts search

November 12, 2010 Updated Nov 12, 2010 at 12:39 AM EDT

By Lou Chilelli

November 12, 2010 Updated Nov 12, 2010 at 12:39 AM EDT

TOWN OF EDEN, N.Y. (WKBW) -- A late afternoon stroll through the woods...ends with a night time search that involves several agencies. They sit warm and cozy in the back of an ambulance. Four members of a family from Bryant...a father and his three sons.

Lieutenant John McCarthy of the Town of Eden Police Department starts the story, "At about 5:30 this evening...we received a call from a lost hiker with his three boys. They were in the woods off of Larkin Road."

The woods are actually Franklin Gulf...an undeveloped county park that covers more than 600 acres. While the Eden Emergency Squad organized groups to begin a search...members of the Erie County Sheriff's Department and police officers from the Towns of Eden and North Collins fanned out along the area roads.

Sergeant William Cranston of the Erie County Sheriff's Office says that, that effort paid off, "We had a tip from one of the homeowners on one of the local streets here...that had heard and had spotted some people earlier this afternoon. We sent a couple of deputies out into the woods on a hike to check the area. They were able to locate the people. We had some assistance from one of the residents with the use of a four wheeler."

Tice Road resident Eric Reinhardt, is the one who helped look for the missing family, "We were able to ultimately...after a little while get the ATV lights over a gorge and spot them...and give them sort of a beacon to come to. And, ultimately they climbed up out of the ravine and up into the back of our property here and the story had a happy ending."

They were found about 90 minutes after the original phone call. They were tired and a bit worn, but suffered no injuries. Police have not released the family's name.