Published January 28, 2013
An 18-year-old Australian boy was found alive after surviving more than two months in bushland in northern Sydney.
Matthew Allen’s family had reported him missing after he didn’t return home in late November, according to Australian TV network ABC. Despite extensive searches by police and emergency workers, there was no sign of the boy.
Allen had not taken his phone or accessed his bank accounts while he was missing, so his family feared the worst.
But last Saturday, two hikers found Allen lying in dense bushland. He had lost about half his body weight, was extremely disoriented, and covered in bugs and leeches, according to police.
The ABC report also suggests Allen was suffering from gangrene to his lower legs and feet.
A rescue helicopter took the dehydrated boy to a local hospital where he was reunited with his family.
"His family are ecstatic that he's alive and that he's well," Detective Acting Inspector Glyn Baker told ABC TV.
Despite severe exhaustion, Allen was able to tell his rescuers he had survived only on water from a creek bed that was almost dry. During the two months when he was missing, Sydney experienced record heat wave temperatures.
Police believe there is more to the story but have not yet had the opportunity to speak to Allen about what happened to him in the bush.