Police found a toddler who had been missing for 3 days sitting in a stream on his parents' property, less than 550 yards from his house
- A toddler who'd been missing for three days in the Australian bush was found safe on Monday.
- AJ Elfalak's parents reported their son missing from their rural New South Wales property on Friday.
- Dozens of people helped search for AJ over the weekend before he was rescued.
Authorities in New South Wales on Monday rescued a 3-year-old boy who'd disappeared from his home on Friday and spent three nights lost in the Australian bush.
The boy, identified as Anthony "AJ" Elfalak, survived three near-freezing nights in the woods on his parents' rural property and was found less than 550 yards from his home on Monday, the police told The Associated Press. They said his parents had reported him missing late Friday morning.
-NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) September 6, 2021
Law enforcement over the weekend organized a search party with dozens of local authorities, emergency-services workers, and volunteers, CNN reported.
On Monday morning, a helicopter crew spotted AJ in the stream near his home and led ground teams to rescue him, authorities told the AP.
AJ was kneeling in the water when a State Emergency Service officer approached him and touched his shoulder, an official told the AP. The officer recalled that AJ "turned towards him with a massive smile on his face," the official said.
Ambulance officers told the AP that AJ was in good condition but was taken to a hospital as a precaution. The boy has since been reunited with his family.
AJ's father, Anthony Elfalak, told Australian media that his son had ant bites, abrasions, and diaper rash.
"It's a miracle. He's alive. It's amazing," Elfalak told Seven News.
New South Wales Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman said at a press conference that she thought AJ's proximity to a water source probably helped him survive his three days in the bush, a sparsely inhabited, harsh environment.
"I can't explain it. I'm so blessed," AJ's mother, Kelly Elfalak, told reporters after being reunited with her son, according to the AP. "I'm so happy that he is here. He's with us, he's safe and well and healthy, that's all that matters."
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