This is the amazing moment a police helicopter found a toddler who had been missing for three days playing in a creek near his home.
Aj Elfalak, three, vanished from his family’s home in rural New South Wales, Australia, on Friday (September 3).
Friends and family immediately began searching the vast property but the boy was not found until today (September 6).
Incredible footage taken by a New South Wales search helicopter shows AJ sitting in a shallow creek just 500 metres from his home.
He can be seen drinking muddy water to survive as an officer can be heard saying: “I’ve got the boy. Get on the PA and tell them.”
AJ has been reunited with his family at their home in Putty, roughly 150km north-west of Sydney.
His overwhelmed mum, Kelly, collapsed to the ground when emergency services revealed they’d found the toddler.
She is adamant AJ is “not a wanderer” and fears he was taken.
The boy’s dad, Anthony, said finding him “has saved me from a lifetime of pain”.
Amazingly, the youngster was found in a “remarkable” condition with only some lacerations on his lower legs, ant bites and nappy rash, according to Special Operations Team Paramedic Gerry Pyke.
“Once mum and dad were cuddling him, his spirits picked up and we had him in the back of the ambulance for about 1.5 hours, just checking him over,” he added.
“He was sleeping the whole time which was not surprising and once he woke up all he wanted to do was eat.”
The youngster was given some well-deserved slices of pizza and a banana to tuck into.
Superintendent Tracy Chapman believed the water source that AJ was found playing in is “potentially what gave him that opportunity to survive”.
“Certainly experts that we’ve consulted, if he had access to water, he was always going to be able to survive the longest period of time, with dehydration being the issue,” she said.
“He’d obviously found some water and was able to access that, (and) was clearly drinking it.”
When the first rescuer reached AJ, he was found kneeling in the riverbed.
“The SES member put his hand on the boy's shoulder and he turned towards him and there was a huge smile,” SES chief inspector Simon Merrick said. “It's smile the rescuer will never forget.”
An investigation is now underway into what happened to AJ, who has justifiably been dubbed Australia’s toughest child.
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