The parents of Luke Shambrook, the autistic boy who survived four nights alone in rugged Victorian bush, have spoken publicly for the first time about their ordeal, thanking rescuers who saved their son's life.
The 11-year-old was found on Tuesday, after vanishing from the family's campsite at Lake Eildon, in Victoria's north-east, on Good Friday.
His parents Rachel and Tim Shambrook still don't know how Luke survived being alone for all that time in the bush, but say he had a sense of belonging to the national park and that might have given him confidence.
"How he survived? I guess really it's between people's prayers, praying for his survival and that resilience ... sometimes we don't give our kids enough credit for their resilience, but he sure showed us," his mother said.
The couple have been at Luke's bedside as he recovers at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Rachel thanked all emergency services personnel involved in the search and said the public also played an important part in keeping the family going.
"To have such support coming from all across Victoria and even further around Australia, we were just overwhelmed by it," she said.
"It was just something that we were immensely grateful for at the low times and obviously very much when Luke was found.
"Our immense thanks to anyone who had any involvement whatsoever."
Doctors said Luke is still tired and weak, but has surprised them with his rate of recovery.
Luke was lost in rugged bushland without food or water for almost 100 hours, while his family rode a rollercoaster of emotions.
Police emergency services and volunteers scoured bushland, looking for the young boy for almost five days.
He was spotted on Tuesday by a police helicopter three kilometres from the Lake Eildon National park campsite where he was last seen on Good Friday.
Rescuers were given new hope late on Monday when they discovered a cap worn by Luke, after days of searching.
They had earlier been told that the 11-year-old liked to hide and had a fascination with water, prompting police divers to search the lake.
His family had also said that Luke might not respond to searchers' calls and may not even have realised he was lost.
Police described his survival in the dense forest as a ‘miracle’.
Luke’s condition continues to improve and doctors are confident he will have no lasting physical effects.