Missing girls safe and well

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The Independent Online
Six schoolgirls lost overnight in atrocious conditions on Dartmoor sang songs as they huddled together for warmth in a three-person tent while rescuers were looking for them, it emerged yesterday.

They bedded down for the night in the wilderness north of Princetown, hours after they got lost in mist and driving rain.

They walked off the moor yesterday near Postbridge - their original destination on a 12-mile hike - as a search by two helicopters and 120 members of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, some with dogs, resumed.

The youngsters, all 14- and 15-year-old pupils at Torpoint school, south- east Cornwall, were on a school hike aimed at developing map-reading and orienteering skills.

They were named by the school today as Debbie Curran, Caroline Baker, Emma Matthews, Becky Goodman, Jade Bonitto, and team leader Charlotte Clare.

Caroline Barker said the weather was "really bad" as they set off for the checkpoint on Conies Down Tor. "We seemed to be walking for ever and ever and just missed it."

When a pre-arranged escape route did not work, they pitched camp. "All six of us were in a three man tent," said Caroline. "It was pouring with rain, and we started singing songs to keep us warm."