A woman has had an emotional reunion with a man she found buried alive as a newborn while on a hiking trail.
Azita Milanian, 58, cried as she was reunited with the now 20-year-old Matthew Whitaker whose life she saved that fateful day in 1998.
The Good Samaritan told the On Air With Ryan Seacrest radio show she was walking with her dogs in the Los Angeles San Gabriel Mountains when her pets noticed something buried in the dirt.
The 58-year-old said she was supposed to have started her hike earlier that day but had a number of interruptions. She also took a different route for the first time in eight years.
One of the woman’s dog, Tango, found Mr Whitaker’s feet sticking out of the ground.
She ran back to the car to put her dogs away but felt compelled to go back and investigate.
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“He (the baby) started crying and I moved the bushes and I opened the towel and I saw the umbilical cord attached,” Ms Milinian said.
She started digging dirt out of the baby’s nose and mouth hoping to save him.
Paramedics did not think he was going to survive but Ms Milinian added the little boy clung onto her and he was “strong-willed” and “stubborn”.
The baby was taken to hospital and eventually put up for adoption. Mr Whitaker only found out about how he was buried, found and adopted last year.
On Wednesday, which was also Mr Whitaker’s 20th birthday, he was reunited with the woman who saved his life.
“I was waiting for you – 20 years,” Ms Milanian said on meeting Mr Whitaker, wiping away tears.
“You’re exactly what I’ve imagined.”
Mr Whitaker said he “always” wanted to keep in contact with his “fifth mum” and invited her to his upcoming university graduation.