An autistic teenage boy who had been lost in the Australian scrub for two days was reunited with his family on Wednesday after hundreds of years of volunteering with Vegemite and Thomas the Tank Engine as bait.
Will Callaghan, a teenager with nonverbal autism, was separated from his family at the summit of Mount Disappointment near Melbourne on Monday, but was found by a volunteer after two nights of freezing temperatures.
"I'm really overwhelmed, he's as good as expected," said mother Penny Callaghan, visibly relieved after the 14-year-old was discovered. "Thanks everyone! I'm so thankful!"
Local residents living nearby joined the manhunt and had been asked to grill bacon and onions, and to omit his favorite foods, hoping that his favorite smells would pull the boy out of the bush.
Police inspector Christine Lalor had asked for Vegemite and Feta to be left out when officials set up three speakers in the area to play songs by Thomas the Locomotive.
Volunteer Ben Gibbs told public broadcaster ABC that he had broken through thick bushland when the boy appeared just a few meters away.
"He was really angelic and just stood there," said Gibbs. "I heard that he liked Thomas the tank, so I talked to him about diesel (one character) and the like."
Will Callaghan's discovery had been widely publicized and relieved.
Temperatures in the area had dropped below zero degrees Celsius on Monday evening, which raised fears about his safety in what the police described as "life-threatening".
Victoria's Prime Minister Dan Andrews welcomed the news: "It could be called Mount Disappointment, but nothing is disappointing today."
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)