Milana, 5, takes long way home

By Joanna Mathers

Separated from her family, brave tot takes to her scooter for a 6km trip home.

Milana Lang with mum Kamilla
Milana Lang with mum Kamilla

Milana Lang is only 5 years old, but she didn't let 6.8km of busy roads get in the way of an epic solo scooter journey.

Milana's intrepid outing began when mum Kamilla Lang took her and two friends, plus Kamilla's 19-year-old niece Danielle, to watch a movie at the Auckland waterfront on a recent busy Sunday.

"We'd been at the Lantern Festival and I'd heard there was a kid's movie in Wynyard Quarter. So I decided to take the children to see it."

With the three children and Danielle, Kamilla went to an information centre on the waterfront to ask about the film.

"They were only about a metre behind me. I thought Milana was just an arm's reach away."

Setting out for Princes Wharf, Kamilla realised Milana was missing.

"I asked the others if they knew where she was; but they didn't. So we started frantically looking."

But Milana was nowhere to be seen.

Security staff reviewed CCTV footage, which revealed Milana had looked away at the moment the others went into the centre.

"And it showed her looking around, confused, and scootering off in the direction of the restaurants."

Kamilla called the rest of Milana's family from South Auckland and they came immediately to join the search.

After about an hour, the police were called.

One of the officers asked if there was any chance of Milana having gone home. Kamilla thought it unlikely but went with an officer to their home in Pt Chevalier.

"I left the other children with my friend, and drove home in the car. The officer said it was time for us to alert the media and get a helicopter out. That really hit me hard."

They arrived at the family home, but Milana was nowhere to be seen.

As they were driving back to Wynyard Quarter a policewoman saw a small child four doors from the home, sitting on a footpath.

"She asked me 'is that her'," said Kamilla. "And it was. She was very tired and quiet, but calm. The first thing she said to be was 'you lost me Mum'!"

Milana explained she'd lost sight of the group and thought they must have headed home.

"So she decided to scooter home to find us. She had to cross some of Auckland's busiest streets all by herself."

Milana's journey is all the more remarkable as she has been to Wynyard Quarter only two or three times this summer.

Asked if she was scared or sad during her epic journey, Milana responded: "I cried, but just a little."

- Herald on Sunday

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