“Sheer happiness”. That’s what local police described seeing during last night’s reunion between three-year-old James “Jimmy” O’Reilly and his family.
After spending more than 12 hours wandering through thick bush and rough terrain in nothing but his Spider-Man pyjamas and tiny pair of dark blue wellington boots — exposed to heavy downpours of rain, hail and a wind chill just above 0 degrees — little Jimmy was found alive by his grandad and uncle.
The little boy was spotted by family members who had driven down from Perth to Yallingup to join the frantic search about 7pm last night.
It is understood he was discovered asleep near a firebreak that had been searched earlier in the day, about 1km from the Karli Rise holiday home where he was staying with his family.
After some tears and cries for food, Jimmy was rushed to the Airbnb about 30 kilometres from Busselton as soon as he was found, where he was reunited with his distraught parents.
Sgt Fowler told ABC this morning: “To see a child reunited with Mum and Dad, cuddled up together on the bed, it was just, look, you couldn’t describe the sheer happiness that was on, especially Mum’s face”.
“That’s something I think I’ll always remember. She was about as happy as I’ve seen anyone for a long time,” he added.
The toddler was last night taken by St John Ambulance to Busselton Health Campus as a precaution and is understood to have stayed the night.
It is unclear if he has been discharged yet.
Several family members and friends — all who raced down to Yallingup to join the scores of SES and community volunteers, as well as neighbours — were visibly relieved as they left the Airbnb last night, on their way to the hospital Emergency Department.
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