The rescue team in a race against time to find a boy with autism missing in dense bushland in Victoria has adopted an innovative technique in a desperate bid to locate him.
William Callaghan, 14, has spent a second night lost in freezing temperatures at Mount Disappointment on the southern end of Victoria’s Great Dividing Range, after going missing on Monday afternoon.
Volunteers searching for the non-verbal teen on Tuesday night played soundtracks from his favourite television show to try and lure him towards them, SES Deputy Controller Gerry Connell said.
“Last night was a very unique condition for us. We had our crews out last night making lots of noise,” he told Today.
“Will loves Thomas the Tank Engine, so we had Thomas the Tank Engine playing over our PA system with all our volunteers out there last night.
“Unfortunately we haven’t located him as of yet.”
Mr Connell said a combination of the tough terrain and cold temperature had made the search particularly difficult.
“The underbrush is thick [and] it’s slippery, so we’re making sure our members are very safe out there.”
“We've had people searching 24 hours for the last couple of days and a lot of people out in the field,” Senior Sergeant Greg Paul told Nine's Today show on Wednesday.
“We're fairly confident we can have success. We're thinking positive. There is a sense of urgency obviously, but we are really hopeful we'll get a successful day today.”
Aerial images show dense bushland at Mt Disappointment
Hundreds of people have been searching for the teen, who taps on his chest to communicate.
It is believed he could have tried to walk into a house for food or find a bed, and police have asked residents to check their outhouses.
Victoria Police on Tuesday released aerial images revealing just how heavy the bushland is in the area they are searching.
Greyscale photos from its Air Wing showed it being impossible to see the ground from above due to the thick covering of trees and shrubs.
Police said Will was not dressed suitably for cold weather and did not have any food or water with him.
The Police Air Wing, Search and Rescue Squad, Dog Squad, local uniform members in 4WD’s and police on bikes are being supported by the State Emergency Services in searching for the boy.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.