Victorian teenager William Callaghan has been found alive after spending two freezing nights lost in dense bushland.
"We can confirm we have found William alive, it's great news," Acting Inspector Christine Lalor said on Wednesday.
The 14-year-old autistic boy went missing on Monday afternoon in Mount Disappointment, with hundreds of people deployed to search for him.
He spent two nights lost in the bush with no food or water and in light clothing.
Victoria Police shared the exciting news in a post to Twitter shortly after Will was found.
“Amazing news!! Missing boy Will Callaghan has been located by a volunteer at Mount Disappointment,” the tweet read.
“After two days missing in bushland, Will is set to be reunited with his family shortly. We would like to thank the community for their outpour of support.”
He was discovered conscious and alive by a volunteer on Wednesday afternoon, and was taken to the search staging area about 1pm.
Ben Gibbs was the man who found him, and said the boy was standing about 15 metres from him in the bush “just really angelic” when he first spotted him.
“I heard he liked Thomas the Tank [Engine] and so I just sort of talked to him about Diesel [one of the characters] and stuff like that,” Mr Gibbs told Nine News.
Blue tarps were erected to shield William's reunion with his family, during which he gave his mum Penny a hug.
Hundreds of people were searching for him, as temperatures in the area plummeted.
Amazing news!! Missing boy Will Callaghan has been located by a volunteer at Mount Disappointment. After two days missing in bushland, Will is set to be reunited with his family shortly.— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) June 10, 2020
We would like to thank the community for their outpour of support. 🙌 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/QoAaPQktlN
Will's favourite tune, Thomas the Tank Engine, was blasted over sound systems to try to draw him out.
A wave of relief went through the camp when news broke of the boy's discovery.
Smiles and tears spread over the faces of his family, friends and those who searched high and low for him.
Mum's emotional appeal to find her son
Earlier, the teen’s mum Penny Callaghan addressed media saying that she wasn’t normally one to pray, but was willing to try anything as the search for her son entered its third day.
“Any parent, I'm sure would be thinking the worst-case scenario. I can't do that at the moment. I'm really hoping that we find him today. I don't want him out another night,” she said.
Police asked residents in the area to leave out food for Will, and consider cooking onions and bacon to entice him towards safety.
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