A four-year-old girl who vanished from her family’s rural property in southern Tasmania on Wednesday has been found after two nights in the bush.
Tasmanian Police confirmed late on Friday afternoon that Shayla Phillips had been found alive and well.
They are yet to give more details, although a media conference is expected later on Friday.
The welcome news came as the search for the preschooler entered its third day, with more than 100 people scouring a wide area looking for her.
She was last seen about 2.30pm on Wednesday near Stormlea Road in Stormlea, in southern Tasmania, wearing pink leggings, a cream-coloured top, and gumboots.
Police said she had been playing outside with dogs from a neighbouring property. When her mother went to check on her after about half an hour, Shayla and the dogs were gone.
One of the dogs was found about 7pm on Wednesday about 800 metres from where Shayla was last seen.
Inspector Gavin Hallett said earlier on Friday crews still expected to find the four-year-old alive.
“This is still a search and rescue operation,” he said.
“My grave concern is that she may be injured in the bush. She’s four years old so she won’t present to us.
“We actually have to find Shayla. She could be disorientated, she should be confused, she could be scared and she won’t approach us, so that’s where our concerns are.”
Inspector Hallett said police did not believe there was anything suspicious about the disappearance and there was no person of interest.
The inspector said Shayla’s mother Bianca remained stoic and strong.
“She, like us, holds grave concerns for Shayla, but she knows that we’re doing everything we can to safely locate her as soon as we can,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said significant resources, including thermal imaging drones and sniffer dogs from Victoria Police, were involved in Friday’s operation.
“Tasmania Police are doing everything we possibly can to bring little Shayla back safely to her mum,” Mr Higgins said on Friday.
“We absolutely need to be positive there’ll be a good outcome. But we will continually reassess as well and take advice from the medicos and experts.”
Mr Higgins said Tasmania Police were consulting with other states following a number of successful child rescues in the past few years.
“We do reach out and speak about their experience with people they’ve been looking for and certainly techniques and resources they might use to actually get successful outcomes,” he said.
The Phillips’ family home is in an isolated area, surrounded by undulating pastures and dense bushland.
The helicopter is searching an area of about 2.5 square kilometres, while search teams are covering an area of about 1.2 square kilometres on foot.
Four nearby dams were searched and cleared on Wednesday night.