Police divers will join the frantic search for a toddler who disappeared on a cattle station in remote Far North Queensland two days ago.
Two-year-old Ruben Scott was playing with a puppy in the garage before he went missing from the homestead on Koolatah Station, about 100 kilometres east of Kowanyama in Cape York, late on Tuesday afternoon.
Police and SES crews arrived from Cairns on Wednesday to scour the area for the boy but failed to find any sign of him.
Mustering helicopters, ringers from nearby stations, aerial drones and Indigenous rangers from Kowanyama were also involved in the search.
With the station backing onto a lagoon and the Mitchell River, police divers are also being flown in to the area onThursday to search the waterways.
The area is a known crocodile habitat.
“There’s a lot of water in the immediate area where he went missing,” SES regional director Wayne Coutts said.
“It’s always a concern in any search, but especially with a young one involved.”
Cape Patrol Inspector Mark Henderson said it had been “another long night”.
“Seven helicopters are coming and going. We have myriad SES staff and their resources, including a drone that we’ve been flying over last night and again in the early hours of this morning,” he said.
“I think we have nearly 20 people from neighbouring properties. Everyone is pitching in. We are throwing everything at this.”
He said it had been more than 40 hours since the boy disappeared.
“It does make the challenge a bit harder,” he said.
“As we speak, we have some light rain starting to fall. That will make our day difficult but we won’t stop.
“We will keep searching and looking and hopefully bring this family some peace.”
‘Trying to hold myself together’
He said another six SES personnel were travelling to the search area on Thursday.
“We hear the mum is very distraught and out there all the time, encouraging searchers,” he said.
“Lots of people and lots of resources covered the primary area, which is two kilometres around from where he was last seen, but it was definitely expanded out from that as well with no result.
“The conditions are obviously good for searching. They’re probably not fantastic for the young child, especially overnight with the cooler temperatures.”
Ruben’s mother Natasha Scott took to Facebook to thank everyone, saying that she had “every person that can help, helping to find him”.
“I understand all you guys are shocked and worried but please, try to hold back from messaging me,” she wrote.
“I’m trying to organise heaps of things to help find him and am trying to hold myself together.”
While his aunty Cherese Scott wrote, “come home baby please Aunty Reesey misses you, we all miss you”.
It is understood the family has lived at the 1700-square-kilometre property since January.