An autistic teenager who went missing in icy conditions on mountainous terrain in Australia was found alive after three days – and asked rescue workers for a McDonald’s meal.
William Callaghan, 15, was found by a volunteer bushland seeker on Mount Disappointment, in Victoria, who talked about his favorite show Thomas the Tank Engine to calm him down.
A police helicopter then located the boy from above and he was coaxed into a rescue vehicle – much to the delight of mother Penny Callaghan and stepfather Nathan Ezard, reports 9News.
Mrs. Callaghan – surprised at the fact that her son was found alive for so long – said he had used sign language to indicate that he was afraid.
“I can’t imagine what he felt and experienced,” she said, adding that he had asked for fast food as his first meal in days.
Ms. Callaghan further thanked bushwalker Ben Gibbs for finding her son and said she now plans to take William on vacation.
Mr. Gibbs said he found the vulnerable teenager after deviating from the main path for about 20 minutes.
“I just wandered through the bush – it was quite thick – so I just broke through it,” he said.
“It was about 15 meters away from me and it really stood there. He was really angelic, just watching. “
Mr. Gibbs put socks on William’s feet and then gave him some chocolate while they waited for a rescue vehicle with his parents.
The rescuers were warned not to clap while encouraging the teenager to get into the rescue vehicle because he is afraid of loud noises.
More than 450 people, mostly made up of volunteers, had searched the area around the mountaintop since the teen disappeared at around 2:20 PM on Monday.
Those in the base camp of the mountain, where the rescue was stationed, were pictured hugging each other and cheering as the news streamed through.
Covered in a puffer jacket and hoodie, William was taken to camp where he was checked by a paramedic.
He was gone when he walked with his family.
Victoria Police tweeted: “Great news! The missing boy Will Callaghan was found by a volunteer at Mount Disappointment.
“After missing for two days in bushland, Will will soon be reunited with his family.
“We want to thank the community for their support.”