A three-year-old boy who was missing for 18 hours after wandering from a campsite near Mudgee in the NSW central west during the Easter long weekend has been handed back into the arms of his emotional mother and father.
WATCH: A family are celebrating what they call an “Easter miracle”.
James Skillen was last seen at about 5pm on Saturday at a campsite with his family on a property on Old Ilford Road, Razorback, about 69km south of Mudgee. He was found “safe and well” wandering along a 4WD bush track just before midday on Sunday
“It’s an Easter miracle, it’s just amazing and we just can’t thank the emergency services so much for everything they’ve done,” James’ father, Peter Skillen told the ABC.
Mr Skilllen also said young James had tried to get a lift back to the campsite from a kangaroo.
“He said he tried to jump on a kangaroo this morning because he thought the kangaroo might take him home,” he said.
Members of the public from the small nearby town of Sofala had joined the search and James was found five kilometres from where he had last been seen.
James was then flown in a PolAir chopper to a paddock where his parents were waiting and a policeman placed him in the arms of his mother, who held him tightly amid cheers of joy from the gathered crowd.
When James was last seen he was carrying a yellow backpack, which he was still clutching when he was carried from the chopper.
James and his parents then climbed into a waiting ambulance so the boy could be assessed by paramedics.
Mr Skillen thanked members of public and emergency services, saying his son was very chirpy after the chopper ride.
“He was very chirpy, he was very happy he got to ride in a helicopter.”
A large-scale search group including police, sniffer dogs, NSW Ambulance, the Rural Fire Service, SES, the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association and locals had spent Saturday night and Sunday morning searching the rugged terrain and farmland which included several dams.
Overnight temperatures dropped to 15C and the mercury had hit 33C by midday Sunday.
2. “They just stood and watched.” Teachers under fire for failing to break up a school brawl in Perth.
Teachers at a Perth school are facing scrutiny after video footage of a brawl between students was made public, showing the teachers standing by and doing nothing to intervene as two teenage boys punched each other.
The fight took place at Atwell College on Tuesday and it wasn't until another teacher stepped in that the students stopped their punching, Nine News reports.
"My daughter showed me and I was disgusted," one parent told Nine News yesterday.
"The teacher could have just pushed them apart and said, 'right nup back to your class', they didn't.
"They just stood there and watched."
According to Nine News teachers aren't expected to break up physical fights, as it puts them in danger of facing criminal assault charges from parents.
The state's education department is investigating the video and surrounding circumstances.
A 10-year-old girl is miraculously unharmed - except for some cuts and abrasions - after she was sucked under water and dragged through a drain while swimming in an ocean pool in Sydney.
Myrthe Koning, 10, was swimming with her 12-year-old brother Thijmen in the Dee Why ocean pool on February 18, as their mother Esther Lammertink watched on.
“My son had seen her go under. He was screaming because he couldn’t see her. He thought she had drowned," the 43-year-old mum-of-two told The Daily Telegraph over the weekend.
"There was at least 10 seconds between when I saw my son looking in the pool to when my daughter emerged.
"I realised something was happening, I jumped up and saw my daughter pop up in the ocean."
She said the hole is situated towards the bottom of the pool and is designed to fill and refresh water in the main pool with water from the ocean. Its dimensions are around 40cm high and 1.5 metres wide, and it sits about 2 meters deep from the pool's surface.
The question is how her 1.59 meter tall daughter was pulled through.
“I would like to warn the public about this danger,” she said.
“I would like to tell people to check for these holes and secondly not to let your kids swim near these holes. The undercurrent must have been incredibly strong.
"She was incredibly lucky to escape with only these injuries and not get stuck or swept out into the ocean."
The local council told The Daily Telegraph it has no record of an incident like this happening before, and an investigation is underway involving life guards, engineers and council staff.
4. Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are considering challenging Cricket Australia's decision to ban them from the game.
Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have all sought legal advice and are strongly considering the merits of challenging bans levelled by Cricket Australia, according to AAP.
The suspended trio have returned home in shame for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal, apologising to the nation in tearful press conferences.
They all acknowledge erring in Cape Town but haven't formally accepted or challenged their charge or sanctions issued by CA.
Those decisions are unlikely to come until Tuesday at the earliest. The deadline is Thursday.
Public sentiment has flipped from furious outrage to feelings of sympathy in recent days, especially for Smith and Bancroft.
That may change if players extend the saga in a formal hearing that would be chaired by an independent commissioner.
But, much like last year's pay dispute, CA may also come out of a judicial stoush poorly as more sordid details emerge while they search for new sponsors and negotiate a TV rights deal.
"All we can do is uphold the code to our best judgment and take into consideration the evidence we have," CA chief executive James Sutherland said, when asked on Wednesday whether formal hearings could further batter the sport's image in Australia.
"It's about the spirit of cricket, it's about the good of the game. It's not about individuals or thinking about those sorts of consequences.
"We've got to make those judgments on what's best for the game.
"As a course of natural justice under our code, players have the right to accept or reject the charges or the sanctions or both.
"If they do to take that to appeal. That's a good, proper legal process and that's why it's written that way."
Smith, Warner and Bancroft are attempting to collect their thoughts over the Easter weekend after a life-changing week, while lawyers continue to probe how CA meted out law and order.
The players' union, which continues to offer the trio welfare and legal support, made the argument in a media release on Thursday there were a number of "glaring and clear anomalies" in CA's expedited investigation and disciplinary approach.
Many domestic and international players - past and present - feel the governing body bowed to public pressure that came all the way from the top.
Shane Warne has been vocal in his condemnation of CA, accusing them of caving to "hysteria".
Some of the Test stars currently in Johannesburg feel incredibly sorry for Smith in particular.
The skipper became the figurehead of the scandal - and took responsibility because he was leading the team - but was least culpable according to CA's investigation.
5. Hundreds have lined the streets to honour Stephen Hawking, as Eddie Redmayne speaks at his funeral.
Hundreds of people lined the streets of Cambridge as Professor Stephen Hawking, who died at age 76 on March 14, was farewelled in a private service held at St Mary the Great church.
The service was held near Gonville and Caius College, where Hawking was a fellow for 52 years, and was attended by more than 500 guests, including model and Cambridge graduate Lily Cole, billionaire and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May, and playwright Alan Bennett.
Actor Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his depiction of Hawking in the 2014 film The Theory of Everything, read from Ecclesiastes during the service, while eldest son Robert gave the eulogy.
Hundreds of supporters applauded as Hawking's hearse and coffin arrived at the church before the service, and flags were lowered to half-mast in many parts of Cambridge. The bell at Great St Mary's also tolled 76 times at the start of the service in memory of the Professor.
Hawking's remains are to be cremated at a later date, and his ashes are expected be interred at London's Westminster Abbey near the remains of fellow scientist Isaac Newton on June 15.
6. The vegan diet is more popular in Australia than ever but beware, experts are warning "it can be dangerous".
As more young Aussies - particularly women - jump on the vegan bandwagon they need to know the potential dangers of the "trendy" diet, experts say.
"Every man and his dog is interested in veganism," says Sydney dietitian Nicole Dynan, who predicts the rise in veganism in Australia will only grow.
It's backed by market research firm Euromonitor International which predicts that by 2020, Australia's packaged vegan food market would be worth $215 million. It also found Australia was the third fastest growing vegan market in the world after the United Arab Emirates and China.
The diet, which excludes the use of animal products, is particularly popular with female millennials in Australia, Ms Dynan says.
"Just about everywhere you go you can get a poke bowl of some vegan variety," Ms Dynan tells AAP.
But, the Dietitian's Association of Australia spokeswoman says the veganism trend is starting to trickle into older age groups.
The hype around gut- and micro-health has made everyone more aware of the value of plant foods, she says.
Underlying concerns about animal welfare - especially as a result of the recent poultry standards debate in Australia - also plays a part, as does the desire for people to manage their weight.
Social media has also been a big influence says Ms Dynan - with the rise of beautifully presented vegan meals bursting with colour plastered on Instagram and blog sites.
But she warns that cutting meat out of a diet completely shouldn't be done without planning and medical consultation.
"People feel like 'oh yeah, I can cut out meat and I'll be right,' but it's not as simple as that ... it has to be really well thought-out and planned," Ms Dynan says.
She's also warned vegans of falling into the trap of eating processed vegan-friendly foods such as vegan packaged sausages, which are generally high in sodium and salt.
"They're not something you would find in nature," she says.
As more Aussies lap up alternative milk, the nation's Soy and Almond Milk Production has grown steadily too, with the industry worth $158.3 million.
However, the problem with Almond and Rice milk, according to The Vegan Society is the production process requires hundreds of litres of water to make just one litre of the alternative milk.