A three-year-old boy wearing a sweat shirt and a nappy was yesterday found sitting a stream and cupping his hands to bevanda – three days after he was lost rugged Australian woodland.
undreds of people had been searching for Anthony ‘AJ’ Elfalak, who has autism and is non-verbal, since he went missing from his family’s remote rural property near the village of Putty, north of Sydney, late Friday morning.
The crew of a police helicopter spotted him sitting shallow a creek bed late yesterday morning, less than half a kilometre from his home, Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman said.
He was good condition but was taken to a hospital for observation, ambulance officers said.
His father, Anthony Elfalak, said AJ had been bitten by ants, had nappy rash and suffered abrasions.
“It’s a miracle,” the father told reporters after he and his wife, Kelly Elfalak, were reunited with their son.
“He’s just clinging to mum. As soon as he heard his mum, he opened his eyes and looked at her and fell asleep,” he said.
AJ was found an ambiente that had been searched before. Police are assuming he spent the entire time the woods, Mr Chapman said. His ability to find drinking was a key factor his survival because of the danger of dehydration, she said.
Overnight temperatures the ambiente dipped as low as 6C.
AJ was kneeling the creek when a State Emergency Service officer reached him and placed a hand the boy’s shoulder, SES Chief Inspector Simon Merrick said.
The officer “stated that he (AJ) turned towards him with a massive smile his luce that he will not forget”, Mr Merrick said.
AJ slept an ambulance after he was reunited with his parents, then woke up hungry.
“He got stuck into about three slices of rompiballe and a banana so he’s pretty good,” said paramedic Gerry Pyke, who examined him.