The Ontario Provincial Police released video of a six-year-old boy with special needs being found in Sauble Beach earlier this week, after a tense, six-hour search came to a happy end.
The video is shot from a police helicopter and shows the events leading up to officers finding the young boy, along with the frantic 9-1-1 call from his mother.
“What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to stay put and wait? It will be dark before we know it,” she said in tears.
The boy went missing on Tuesday evening and after the family and neighbours searched for 45 minutes, they called police.
“I think he’s in the forest behind our property,” the mother is heard saying to a 9-1-1 call centre.
“I’ve checked everywhere else I can think of and I can only go so far back by myself in the bush.”
Nearly 100 people were out looking for the boy that evening, including local fire departments, the emergency response team, along with neighbours and friends.
A command post was set up and the OPP deployed its K9 unit and a helicopter.
‘Can you take me home?’
The video, posted by police on Thursday, shows officers searching through mud, bog and thick trees before finding the boy in the woods, just 500 metres away from his home.
It was captured by an infrared camera that picks up heat signatures from the ground below, making it easier to spot movement at night.
“The helicopter called that they thought they had a heat signature and they gave me a great reference point, so we were able to plot it in the command post,” said Sgt. Pete Fischer, the team lead on the search.
From there, the emergency response team on the ground found the boy.
“When our guy came across him, he popped up and asked, “can you take me home” and our guy said sure,” he said.
Fischer said the boy was barefoot when they found him. He was shivering and had a few scratches but otherwise in good condition.
“[We] did a little bit of first aid, wrapped him in an emergency blanket, and then we actually physically carried him out.”
‘That was a big relief’
South Bruce Peninsula Fire Chief Normand Beauchamp was at the command post when he heard over the radio that the boy had been found.
“That was a big relief,” Beauchamp said.
“Everybody at the command post said yippee. Everybody was happy.”
The whole search took around six hours and it was nearly midnight when the boy was found.
Fischer said he is happy that his team was able to conduct a successful search mission.
“We got a very highly skilled and very professional group of guys that I’m fortunate enough to lead,” Fischer said.
“It was a whole package. It wasn’t one person planning. It was all the pieces in place that made it a success.”
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