A 3-year-old Australian toddler was found alive and well after missing for three days in the wilderness near his familyâ€™s rural home north of Sydney.
AJ Elfalak, who is autistic and nonverbal, has been â€œclingingâ€ to his mom ever since he was foundï»¿ Monday kneeling in a river drinking water after disappearing Friday, dad Anthony Elfalak told The Guardian.Â
â€œItâ€™s a miracle. He has been bitten by ants and he has fallen, but he is alive. Itâ€™s amazing,â€ said the dad. â€œMy leg, my hips, my ankles … I canâ€™t walk. I have been in the bush for four days with no sleep. We didnâ€™t stop.â€
He added:Â â€œI know I was acting frantic, but no one can understand what itâ€™s like going through what we went through. I feel incredible.â€
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 â€œnever wandered offâ€ before. The family moved to the property just months ago.
Now AJ is â€œnice and warm. Heâ€™s perfect, heâ€™s happy, heâ€™s healthy, he is sleeping. I cannot be happier right now,â€ said his mom, Kelly Elfalak.Â
A local police official told reporters that AJâ€™s access to water no doubt helped him survive.
â€œThe longer something goes on, the more worried you become you wonâ€™t get an outcome such as this … itâ€™s a good news story for the entire community,â€ said New South Wales Police Superintendent Tracy Chapman.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost’s next chapter