Inspiring

Desperate Dad Hires Helicopter in Frantic Attempt to Find Missing Son – Finds Him Within Minutes

A desperate Australian father hired a helicopter to find his missing son, The Sidney Morning Herald reports.

Tony Lethbridge grew increasingly concerned when he hadn’t heard from his 17-year-old son Samuel for nearly 24 hours.

He and his wife Lee were frantic when they drove home and couldn’t find Sam.

“We got back into Newcastle about 1.30am [Monday morning] and went straight to the police station,” Mr Lethbridge said. “They told us that he might have ran away, he could have done this or he could have done that and we just said, ‘It’s out of character; it’s not him.’”

“They put all the things in motion and we waited and waited. They just told us to go home and wait,” he said. “I just couldn’t get it out of my head that he’d crashed somewhere.”

“I thought, I’m going to get a helicopter no matter what,” Lethbridge recalled. “I just rocked in there and said: ‘Mate, I’ve got $1000 – I need you to search as much as you can.'”

He walked into the Lake Macquarie Airport looking “anxious and fatigued,” said Lee Mitchell, a veteran pilot. “He said he ‘needed a helicopter bad.'”

“He told us it was for his missing son and said he believed his son had run off the road somewhere,” Mitchell said.

Even though the winds in the region forced them to cancel training flights earlier, Mitchell agreed to help.

Lethbridge’s brother Michael accompanied the rescue crew to search for the boy, and it didn’t take long before they spotted him.

Within 10 minutes Samuel’s car was identified on the Pacific Highway. Samuel had crashed into the deep bushland and his car was buried.

The pilots hovered over the site to direct first responders.

Lethbridge got a text message from his brother: “He’s alive.”

“When I got there, I ran down there and it was just jubilation,” Michael Lethbridge said. “It was unbelievable to find him there.”

Samuel had been trapped for nearly 30 hours and was dehydrated and had suffered major injuries.

“You wouldn’t have seen him if it wasn’t for the helicopter, because I couldn’t see him from the road,” Michael Lethbridge said. “If the helicopter wasn’t hovering above, I would never have found him.”

First responders were able to cut Samuel from the car and he is now in stable condition at the intensive care unit of a local hospital.

He suffered a broken thigh bone, broken arm, dislocated elbow, and a number of small fractures.

“He spoke to me when I got down to the car,” Lethbridge said. “I grabbed him and I said: ‘Mate, dad’s got you’.”