Little AJ was found just 470 meters from home. Police say his ability to find water was a key factor in the three-year-old autistic boy’s survival
A three-year-old boy lost in the Australian jungle wearing only a diaper and sweatshirt was found sitting in a river.
The toddler was spotted folding his hands together to drink some muddy water when rescuers reached him.
Hundreds of people had searched for Anthony “AJ” Elfalak, who has autism and is non-verbal.
He was missing from his family’s remote rural estate near the village of Putty, north of Sydney, late Friday morning.
Police commissioner Tracy Chapman said the crew of a police helicopter saw him in shallow water in a creek bed about 470 meters from his home.
His father, Anthony Elfalak, said AJ was bitten by ants, had diaper rash and abrasions.
When he was reunited with his son along with his wife Kelly, the father explained it ” A wonder”.
The father said, “He’s just clinging to mom. When he heard his mother, he opened his eyes and looked at her and fell asleep. “
AAP / PA images)
Officials believe the boy was in the forest the entire time and the area where he was found had already been searched.
She added that the boy’s ability to find drinking water was a key factor in his survival because of the risk of dehydration, she said.
State Emergency Service Chief Inspector Simon Merrick said when he put his hand on little AJ’s shoulder, he turned to him with a big smile on his face that he won’t forget.
AAP / PA images)
After reuniting with his parents, AJ slept in an ambulance and then woke up hungry.
The boy ate three slices of pizza and a banana, the officer added.