(CNN) – A small boy was found three days after his disappearance in the australian forest, authorities confirmed Monday.
New South Wales police responded to reports shortly before 12.30 pm Friday that three-year-old Anthony “AJ” Elfalak had disappeared from his family’s property in rural Putty, where he was seen by last time.
AJ is autistic and does not speak, according to Seven News, CNN affiliate.
Unable to find him, officers organized an extensive search operation with the help of local authorities such as the NSW Ambulance Service, the State Emergency Service, the Rural Fire Service and the Rescue Volunteer Association. .
They also had the help of hundreds of volunteers from the emergency services.
– NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) September 6, 2021
At around 11:30 AM on Monday, after a lengthy search, the PolAir air support service located AJ and was able to guide ground search teams to him.
“A three-year-old boy missing from a rural property in the Hunter region since Friday was located after a large-scale search,” NSW Police said in a statement. Twitter post on Monday. The message also included a video of AJ drinking water on the bank of a nearby river.
The boy is already with his family, New South Wales Police confirmed.
Diaper rash and ant stings
“He’s a miracle. He’s alive. He’s amazing,” AJ’s father Anthony Elfalak told the media, reported Seven News.
“I have been in the forest for four days, I have not slept,” he added.
The father said his son suffered from diaper rash and ant bites, and that he had fallen.
Alan Hashem, a friend of the family, told Seven News that it seemed “incredible” that they had located AJ.
“But we still have to find out what happened, we need answers,” Hashem said. “How did he leave? Who did he leave with? Did something wicked happen? We won’t stop until we find the truth,” Hashem added. “Thank you to all Australians who have prayed, because miracles do happen.”
“He is a small survivor”
AJ was found in the australian forest, an unforgiving environment known for its rugged terrain and dense forests.
New South Wales Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman told a news conference that she was “relieved” when he was located.
“Obviously after three days, you know, (we were) desperate to find him, desperate to get a result like this, so certainly being here today is good news,” Chapman said.
“I think (being) so close to the water is what potentially gave him a chance to survive,” he added.
NSW Ambulance paramedic Gerry Pyke told reporters that AJ was in “exceptional” condition when he was found.
“He’s a small survivor,” Pyke added. “He was very, very grateful, you could see it in his eyes.”
Pyke said that AJ had been taken to a nearby hospital as a “precautionary” measure.
“Our family is united again. That is why we are grateful to everyone who has helped in some way in the last three days,” the boy’s family said in a statement.
“Thank you to the NSW Police, rescue services, volunteers, community members, friends and family who have worked tirelessly to find AJ,” they added. “AJ is fine. Keep your kids close.”