5 Days After Boy Wanders Off, a 'Miracle'

Luke Shambrook, 11, survived 4 days and nights in the Australian bush
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 7, 2015 8:36 AM CDT
A view of Lake Eildon.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – In what some are calling a "miracle," an 11-year-old autistic boy has been found safe five days after wandering away from the Australian campground where his family was staying. Dozens of volunteers, including fellow vacationers, joined the search for Luke Shambrook after he vanished Friday from the Candlebark Campground in Fraser National Park, and today he was spotted from the air nearly 2 miles from his family's campsite, the BBC reports. Other than hypothermia and dehydration, he appears fine, police say. "Four nights and four days in the bush—he's really in remarkable condition," says a police commander, per Australia's ABC News. Also remarkable: how he was spotted. The sergeant who saw him from a police chopper says, "I just, out the corner of my eye, caught a little flash of something. It wasn't much, but it was enough to make me get the guys to turn the aircraft around."

A police Instagram video shows Luke propping himself up on the ground as the first officer reaches him—the Herald Sun says a chainsaw had to be used to forge a path through brush to get him out—and a photo tweeted by a 10 News reporter shows his parents hugging him. After his family reported him missing and said he was drawn to water and small hiding places, searchers focused on Lake Eildon and other waterways, as well as animal burrows and spaces underneath trees. "In some ways it's a miracle," the commander told volunteers. "You will have all seen the terrain here, how thick it is, how cold it's been of a night. We've had rain most of this morning. To spot him now is an absolute relief." (Meanwhile in the US, a man was found after 66 days lost at sea.)

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