A three-year-old boy who went missing in thick bushland dressed only in his pyjamas for almost 12 hours was found by his grandfather and uncle to the sheer joy of his parents.
James O’Reilly had wandered off while playing outside a holiday home on Karli Rise, in the locality of Wyadup, south of Yallingup at about 7:30am yesterday morning.
The area is surrounded by thick bush and rough ground.
Serious concerns for his safety were heightened by the fact it was a cold day with heavy rain and hail, and he was only wearing his white “Spiderman” pyjamas and gum boots.
Police immediately organised a search and were soon joined by SES volunteers and scores of locals from the surrounding community.
The police dog squad, the mounted unit and the police helicopter also scoured the area for him. But the bad weather prevented police drones flying overhead.
A row of men wearing high-vis clothing stand in a row next to bushland.
Volunteers from the State Emergency Service searched bushland on
Sergeant Luke Fowler, the officer in charge of the Margaret River area, said the boy was finally found just before 7:00pm by his grandfather and uncle and quickly reunited with his waiting parents.
“To see a child reunited with Mum and Dad, cuddled up together on the bed, it was just, look, you couldn’t describe the sheer happiness that was on, especially Mum’s face,” Sergeant Fowler said.
“That’s something I think I’ll always remember.
“She was about as happy as I’ve seen anyone for a long time.”
James was given a medical check-up due to the amount of time he spent exposed to the poor weather conditions.
WA Police thanked all the emergency service volunteers and community members who helped with the search.
“It was a fantastic result,” Sergeant Fowler said.
“As we always say, it doesn’t matter who finds them as long as the child’s found or the missing person’s found.
“Found by the grandpa and uncle in the end, so a great family connection and a great result.”
Across the country on Fraser Island another frantic search had a happy ending when searchers found an elderly woman lost for three days on the dingo-infested tourist magnet.
Madeleine Nowak, 73, was reported missing Thursday after she became separated from a tour group on the island’s Great Walk.
A land, air and sea search and rescue commenced on Thursday evening and continued throughout Friday and Saturday before she came across a group of campers who summoned help.
Ms Nowak, who has previous trail walking experience, is understood to be in good spirits despite her ordeal and has been taken to hospital for observation.
-ABC and AAP