A fire officer has spoken of his sense of relief after six teenagers feared missing in a raging forest fire in County Antrim turned up safe and well.
Five times the usual amount of gorse fires for this time of year
The teenagers were taking part in an Army Cadets outdoors exercise in Slieveanorra Forest Park, near the village of Newtowncrommelin when the fire broke out on Saturday.
They had failed to turn up at a rendezvous point when the fire was reported.
Emergency services fought the fire and searched the forest for two hours, helped by a coastguard unit and a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter.
The teenagers, aged between 14 and 16, managed to make their own way out of the forest and met emergency personnel at Altnahinch reservoir.
We were extremely concerned about their location and proximity to the fire
Assistant area commander
The search was called off and the fire was brought under control.
Assistant area commander Tommy Dowds of the Fire Brigade said there was huge relief following the rescue operation.
"Some of their group had managed to come out of the forest onto the road and made contact with their group leaders.
"They were able to advise their group leaders that half of their party were unaccounted for and were still in the forest.
"They were pointed to be in the area of the fire, and we were extremely concerned about their location and proximity to the fire," he said.
The Army Cadet Force is a youth programme sponsored by the Army and the Ministry of Defence for teenagers aged between 13 and 18.