1:00 PM PDT, September 7, 2021
AJ’s father, Anthony Elfalak Sr., said when they noticed their son was missing from their rural home north of Sydney, their search began right away.
A police helicopter crew spotted AJ sitting by a creek, cupping his hands to drink the water.
That access to water may have saved his life, as officials say dehydration and cold overnight temperatures were two of their biggest concerns.
“Our first member that reached him found him kneeling in the river bed,” Simon Merrick of the New South Wales State Emergency Service Chief Inspector explained. “They put a hand on his shoulder and comforted him, he actually took a knee on our rescuer’s knee, and then actually a big smile towards him as well, and they embraced in that moment.”
AJ was taken to the hospital for observation, but his dad says the worst of his injuries were a few abrasions, diaper rash and ant bites.
Now a family and an entire community can celebrate AJ’s return.