How the Kip sisters survived in the Ontario wilderness

When Emma and Jenna Kip got lost in Bon Echo Provincial Park after a sudden rainstorm Thursday, they survived by building a lean-to and drinking water squeezed from moss.
Emma and Jenna Kip got lost in Bon Echo Proinvical Park after a sudden rainstorm Thursday. They spent the night in the provincial park, in a lean-to they made, drinking water squeezed from moss. (Facebook)

The father of two teenage girls from New Hamburg, Ont., says survival training kept his daughters safe after the pair got lost in Bon Echo Provincial Park on Thursday.

Jenna and Emma Kip, age 16 and 12, were found Friday evening after they went missing for more than 30 hours.

The girls were staying with family at the Hardwood Hills campground, northeast of Belleville. Jenna and Emma left the campsite for a walk in the park at about 10 a.m. ET but lost their way, said their father, John Kip.

"They just walked back into the bush to do a little exploring and then it rained, a thunderstorm sprang up around them, and because of it they lost their bearings," said Kip.

He said the girls have some outdoor survival training; they knew to wring out moss to get clean water and built themselves a lean-to shelter in a clearing they found, lined it with pine boughs to keep themselves off the ground.

"But because of the storm they were soaking wet. It was 8, 9, 10 degrees or something up there that night, so they were pretty cold.'

He said the teens saw helicopters circling all day, but it wasn't until 6 p.m. on Friday that they were spotted.

"Apparently the helicopter just caught them out of the peripheral of his eye. He just sort of caught a glimpse — because the kids said that all day the helicopters were around them, but just kept flying over them," said Kip.

Kip said his family is overwhelmed with gratitude for the estimated 300 people who helped search for his daughters by ground, air and water.