On Monday, three days after disappearing in a rugged Australian forest, a three-year-old boy in a sweatshirt and diaper was found sitting in a stream, picking up water and drinking.
Anthony’AJ’El Farak disappeared from his family’s country house near the village of Putty north of Sydney on Friday morning, triggering a desperate search involving hundreds of people. ..
According to police chief Tracy Chapman, police helicopter crew found an autistic, non-verbal AJ sitting in a shallow riverbed about 470 meters from his home.
A video released by New South Wales police on Monday showed the moment AJ was discovered by police. “I have a boy,” he says, giving searchers on the ground the coordinates of the child’s position.
AJ was taken to Singleton Hospital for observation, but in good condition, paramedics said. The boy’s father, Anthony Elfarak, said he had been bitten by an ant and had a diaper rash.
“It’s a miracle. He fell alive after being bitten by an ant. After he and his wife Kelly reunited with their son, Elfarak told reporters.
“He just clings to his mother. As soon as he hears his mother’s voice, he opens his eyes and stares at her and falls asleep.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his relief in a video posted on Facebook. “I’m glad,” he said. “I can’t imagine how disastrous this experience was for AJ and his parents. I’m happy to hear that he’s safe.”
Missing 3-year-old found in Bushland after a four-day search
According to police, AJ was found in an area already searched. According to SES Chief Inspector Simon Merrick, he was kneeling in a stream when a state emergency service officer approached him and placed his hand on his shoulder.
He said the boy “turned towards him with a big smile on his unforgettable face.”
Chapman said the ability to find drinking water is an important factor in his survival because of the risk of dehydration. Nighttime temperatures in the area have dropped to 6 degrees Celsius.
“() Very close to water may have given him a chance to survive,” she said. “The experts we consulted said that if he had access to water, he would always be able to survive for a longer period of time.”
More than 130 people have been involved in the search for children, police said. Volunteers helped the police on foot and combed the area on dirt bikes.
Chapman said the investigation into how the child went missing will continue. “Sure, what happened in the last three days (under investigation), and I know everyone is asking a lot of questions,” she said.
Family friend Alan Hashem said 7 news The discovery was “incredible,” but welcomed police efforts to investigate how the child went missing.
“We still need to know what happened and we need an answer,” he added. “How did he leave? With whom did he leave? Did something ominous happen?
“We will not stop until we find the truth.”
Paramedic Gerry Pyke, who examined AJ, described him as a “small survivor.”
“The condition of Little AJ was very noticeable,” Pike said. “He was very, very grateful. I could see it in his eyes.”