A 3-year-old Australian toddler was found alive and well after missing for three days in the wilderness near his family’s rural home north of Sydney.
AJ Elfalak, who is autistic and nonverbal, has been “clinging” to his mom ever since he was found Monday kneeling in a river drinking water after disappearing Friday, dad Anthony Elfalak told The Guardian.
“It’s a miracle. He has been bitten by ants and he has fallen, but he is alive. It’s amazing,” said the dad. “My leg, my hips, my ankles … I can’t walk. I have been in the bush for four days with no sleep. We didn’t stop.”
He added: “I know I was acting frantic, but no one can understand what it’s like going through what we went through. I feel incredible.”
A crowd of volunteers hunted desperately for the boy throughout the wooded area. AJ was finally spotted by searchers in a helicopter who saw the completely soaked little boy in the river.
Elfalak said his son had “never wandered off” before. The family moved to the property just months ago.
Now AJ is “nice and warm. He’s perfect, he’s happy, he’s healthy, he is sleeping. I cannot be happier right now,” said his mom, Kelly Elfalak.
A local police official told reporters that AJ’s access to water no doubt helped him survive.
“The longer something goes on, the more worried you become you won’t get an outcome such as this … it’s a good news story for the entire community,” said New South Wales Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman.