Incredible moment missing boy AJ Elfalak is found drinking water in creek

·3-min read

Police have released the remarkable footage of the moment PolAir found a missing three-year-old boy who hadn't been seen since Friday.

Anthony "AJ" Elfalak was found following an extensive rescue operation on Monday at around 11.30am, after he disappeared on Friday just before midday.

In the video released by NSW Police, AJ is seen drinking water from a creek while the crew on board is heard relaying their findings with rescue crews on the ground.

Police have shared the footage of the moment rescue crews in the air found the missing three-year-old boy on Monday morning. Source: NSW Police
Police have shared the footage of the moment rescue crews in the air found the missing three-year-old boy on Monday morning. Source: NSW Police

Police said they feel "relief" more than anything.

"It's a good news story," Superintendent Tracy Chapman from the Hunter Valley Police District said.

Police are still continuing their enquiries to try to establish what occurred during those three days.

AJ, who has autism and is non-verbal, has been reunited with his family and is being assessed by NSW Ambulance paramedics.

Chief Inspector Simon Merrick from Hunter Region SES Commander said AJ embraced the SES worker who found him on the ground.

"Our first member that reached him found him kneeling in the riverbed," he told reporters. "They put a hand on his shoulder and comforted him, he went on our rescuer's knee and had a big smile towards him as well and they embraced at that moment.'

He said it was an "emotional moment" that rescuers won't forget.

NSW Ambulance Special Operations Team Paramedic Gerry Pyke said out of precaution, AJ was taken to hospital, to check he doesn't have an infection after drinking potentially contaminated water.

"Once mum and dad were cuddling him, his spirits picked up and on the back of the ambulance for about 1.5 hours, checking over," he said, adding he got "stuck into" some pizza and a banana.

Missing three year old Anthony AJ Elfalak is carried from an ambulance before being transported to hospital after being found on his families property near Putty south west of Sydney, Monday, September 6, 2021. Three year old AJ  has been missing for 4 days with a massive search effort being launched by NSW Police, SES and the RFS.(AAP Image/Dean Lewins) NO ARCHIVING
LEFT: Emotional scenes as Kelly Elfalak, AJ's mother, is helped by family and friends as she rushes to the site where AJ has been found alive. RIGHT: AJ Elfalak is carried from an ambulance before being transported to hospital. Source: AAP

The boy survived three nights alone in the bush in temperatures which dipped as low as three degrees.

His father Anthony Elfalak said AJ had been bitten by ants and had fallen over but he is just grateful his son is alive.

"He's just clinging to mum," Mr Elfalak told TV crews.

"As soon as he heard his mum he opened his eyes and looked at her and fell asleep."

Family releases statement after AJ's safe return

Late on Monday afternoon, NSW Police released a statement on behalf of AJ's family, thanking all those involved in the search effort.

"Our family is together again. For that we are grateful to everyone who has assisted in any way over the last three days," the statement said.

"AJ is fine. Hold your kids close. 

"Please give our family the privacy to appreciate what we have."

With AAP

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting