- An Australian toddler was found safe after he spent three days missing in the Australian bush.
- AJ Elfalak’s parents reported their son missing from their rural New South Wales property on Friday.
- More than 130 people helped search for AJ over the weekend, before he was eventually rescued.
Authorities rescued a 3-year-old New South Wales boy on Monday after he spent three nights lost in the Australian bush after disappearing from his parents’ home Friday.
The young boy, identified as Anthony “AJ” Elfalak, survived three near-freezing nights in the woods on his parents’ rural property, before he was safely located less than 550 yards from his home on Monday. Police told the Associated Press his parents reported him missing on Friday around 12:30 p.m.
Video posted to Twitter by New South Wales police appears to show the boy drinking from a stream of water when air rescue crews spotted him.
—NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) September 6, 2021
Law enforcement organized an extensive search party with the help of local authorities and emergency service volunteers, according to CNN. More than 130 people spent the weekend searching for AJ.
After a days-long search, aviation support service PolAir spotted AJ splashing in the stream near his home and led ground teams to rescue him, the outlet reported.
According to the AP, AJ was kneeling in the water when a State Emergency Service officer approached him and touched his shoulder.
The officer reportedly said that upon being touched, AJ “turned towards him with a massive smile on his face…”
Ambulance officers said AJ was in good condition and was observed at the hospital following his rescue. The boy has since been reunited with his family.
AJ’s father, Anthony Elfalak, told Australian media that his son had sustained ant bites and abrasions and was suffering from diaper rash.
“It’s a miracle. He’s alive. It’s amazing,” AJ’s father, Anthony Elfalak, told Seven News.
The Australian bush is known to be a sparsely-inhabited, unforgiving terrain. During a press conference, New South Wales Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman said she thought AJ being close to a water source probably helped him survive his three days in the harsh environment.
“I can’t explain it. I’m so blessed,” AJ’s mother, Kelly Elfalak, told reporters after being reunited with her son. “I’m so happy that he is here. He’s with us, he’s safe and well and healthy. That’s all that matters.”