News State New South Wales Tears of joy end search for little boy lost in the Mudgee bush

Tears of joy end search for little boy lost in the Mudgee bush

Three-year-old James Skillen went missing after wandering from his family's campsite. Photo: NSW Police
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A three-year-old boy who went missing on Saturday night from a central western New South Wales campsite has been found safe five kilometres away, with his father saying it is an “Easter miracle”.

James Skillen disappeared from a campsite on private property at Razorback, north of Bathurst, and a search was launched on Saturday at 7pm.

The search was suspended overnight and resumed at daybreak on the 100-acre property, with authorities and volunteers searching bushland, and a police helicopter looking from the skies.

Shortly before noon, James was found safe and well by members of the public in Sofala on a 4WD track, south-west of where he went missing, and then airlifted back to be reunited with his family.

James’ father, Peter Skillen, said his lost son had tried to get a lift home from a kangaroo.

“He said he tried to jump on a kangaroo this morning because he thought the kangaroo might take him home,” he said.

“It’s an Easter miracle, it’s just amazing and we just can’t thank the emergency services so much for everything they’ve done.

“He was very chirpy, he was very happy he got to ride in a helicopter.”

James was with a group of about 20 family members at the campsite for the Easter break.

Earlier during the day, Inspector Dan Skelly from Dubbo said police, SES members and volunteers were involved in the search and authorities were “hoping he’s laying under a tree waiting for us to come and get him”.

Thick bush rises behind the camping area where James Skillen went missing.