Reporter misses election over fears for missing sons climbing volcano

Reporter misses election over fears for missing sons climbing volcano

A political journalist has described suffering “the worst day of my life” on Friday after her two eldest sons went missing while climbing a volcano in Indonesia, sparking a vast search effort.

GB News correspondent Katharine Forster said her sons Matthew and Andrew, aged 22 and 18, had been due to arrive home from a nine-week trip across Southeast Asia on the day of the UK general election result.

But instead Ms Forster received a phone call from their friend early on Thursday morning to inform her that her sons had not been heard from in more than 30 hours, after hiking up the 3,000m Mount Agung – the tallest volcano in Bali – to watch the sunrise.

The pair became stranded on the active volcano after their phones died and they got lost during their descent through the jungle, finding themselves unable to locate the route back to their rental scooters.

A concerned friend who they had met in Vietnam, and who knew they were making the climb, rang the British Embassy on Thursday morning, sparking a search involving more than three dozen emergency responders from local search and rescue teams and the police and fire services.

“Thursday was the worst day of my life,” Ms Forster wrote on X. “But friends dropped work [and] came round. Made phone calls. Our tech savvy young friends [and] friends of friends spread the boys’ pics and last known location across social media. The Foreign Office were amazing. Local rescuers scoured the volcano.”

Footage showed Matthew and Andrew Forster being rescued by officials after a vast search effort on Mt Agung (screengrab)

Forty hours after they set off up the volcano, Matthew and Andrew were found, after locals heard the “sound of someone screaming for help”, according to Nyoman Sidakarya, of the local Karangasem search and rescue team.

The brothers were in a “limp state due to exhaustion” when the rescuers found them, according to the rescue agency, with Mr Sidakarya saying: “They are lucky to have survived. The conditions on the volcano are very dangerous.”

Describing her sons as “beyond lucky to live to tell the tale”, Ms Forster said they had used their scout training and extensive viewing of Bear Grylls videos to gather rainwater and build a shelter.

“But they weren’t properly prepared [and] should have been with a guide. Words have been exchanged. Thank god that’s possible. They are so sorry,” she said, adding: “So, when your mother (or anyone) tells you to explore with a group, people get lost and die, batteries run out etc, don’t say ‘Mum, we’re not stupid’. Listen. Boys!!”

Ms Forster shared a picture of her sons on their flight home, and thanked her colleagues for their support “and for being on Downing Street yesterday morning and today when I couldn’t”.