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Teens missing overnight turn up safe
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Three teens lost in the woods Wednesday night were found cold, tired and in good shape after a 14-hour ordeal.
The Hinesville Police Department, along with the fire department and the Georgia State Patrol, mounted a search for the three teens who were reported missing by their parents when Phillip Welsh and his friend Samuel Waters, both 13 years old, failed to return home to walk the family dog.
Another boy identified as Samuel’s brother, Cody Waters, 16, was supposed to go home after spending the afternoon exploring the woods at the end of Live Oak Drive. 
When the boys did not return home at 3 p.m., Lynn Waters became concerned and called Phillips father, Shawn Starke, to see if they were at his house.
He told her “no” as he waited for the boys to return.
After several hours, the families alerted the police about the disappearance.
A search was made by Hinesville police in the woods and the surrounding area.
At 11 p.m. as the temperature dropped, police made a decision to call the Hinesville Fire Department and for the Georgia State Patrol’s helicopter which is equipped with equipment to detect heat from the body to scour the area.
HPD officer Donald Nunnally, briefed two dozens officers on the situation. 
“We have one child who is asthmatic and were really concerned he has not had an attack due to the cold weather,” he said. 
Nunnally went on to describe the other boys to the officers, and why they may have gone into the densely wooded area that borders Airport Road and Highway 196. 
“We understand they went to explore a hill one of them found the day before,” he said.
After several hours passed, the GSP Helicopter equipped with a Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR) flew in from Perry, Ga.
The device can see heat radiating from a body, and make out shapes.
After searching the area for an hour, the boys were found near 196 and Curtis Road. 
Fire Chief Lamar cook told the copter to hover over the boys as he and HPD officer Robert Smith made their way to the teens from Highway 196 and Curtis Road.
Cook said the area was so thick with vegetation they had to crawl on their hands and knees to get to them.
“We had to endure briars, water up to our knees, snakes to get to the kids,” he said.
Cook noted they traveled roughly about 400 to 500 yards to get to the boys, but could not see them till they climbed on vines surrounding the are.   
“They were in the middle of a swamp, we had to climb on top of the vines just to see them. The boys who were wet and cold were glad to see the two men,” he said.
 Cook and Smith took off their jackets and wrapped the shivering teens in them.
To find their way out, Cook said he had the police and fire departments set up points at Taylors Creek Elementary School, Faith Baptist Church, Highway 196 and Curtis Road with lights flashing and sirens blaring so the group could follow the noise without getting lost.
Once exiting the woods, the boys were treated by medical personnel and released.
Starke said the boys got lost when they became disoriented while exploring the woods. 
The boys told Cook they were trying to follow the traffic noise, but decided to give up and decided to wait for daylight to try to find their way out. 
When they spotted the helicopter they yelled at it in hopes of attracting attention.
Starke said the boys received scrapes and bruises, but otherwise were in good shape.
“The first thing Phillip told me was he was thirsty and wanted something to drink,” he said.
The boys who are home schooled entered the woods shortly after 1 p.m.
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