Here is a reason to be proud. Here are the people that never gave up.

As Luke Shambrook spends his first night in hospital after his amazing rescue it is the tales of those who searched for him we celebrate.

It was the good news story we needed.

The miraculous survival of 11-year old Luke Shambrook who was found yesterday after spending four days lost in rugged terrain in Victoria.

The young boy with autism had wandered away from his family’s camp site on Friday.

The moment rescuers spotted Luke.

Just before midday yesterday he was spotted by the police air wing walking on a ridge 3km southwest from where he vanished.

Related content: See the moment 11-year old Luke was found by his rescuers.

As Luke spent his first night in hospital it was the stories of those men and women who had searched for him for 98 hours that made our spines tingle.

Men and women of the Victorian Police force, the SES, Bush Search and Rescue and over 200 volunteers – many of who did not know the little boy but showed up out of the goodness of their hearts.

We are buoyed by events like this.

By the words of Acting Sergeant Brad Pascoe, the officer who spotted Luke from the helicopter. He said he saw a flash out the corner of his eye from the chopper and had the pilot turn around.

“It wasn’t much but it was enough to make me get the guys to turn the aircraft around,” he said.

“We were just absolutely over the moon. All of us in the crew are parents ourselves and we can only imagine what Luke’s parents were going through.”

Acting Sergeant Brad Pascoe

As news spread throughout the searchers that Luke had been found there were cheers and beers. There were hugs and high fives, and there was hardly a dry eye in that vast bush.

And it is scenes like this which we celebrate, tales of the men and women who just showed up to help because “it is the Aussie way.”

Volunteers like Scott Patrick who took the day off work to search turning up at 6am – all because he knows kids with autism and couldn’t help himself but to help out.

The rescuers

Men like Andrew Turnbull, a volunteer from Melbourne. He says he is a highly functioning autistic and said he could have imagined himself doing what Luke did.

“I used to go missing myself … when I was his age. I did the same thing, so I’m going to join in and see if I can find him,” Mr Turnbull told the ABC.

Women like Cheryl Wilson who travelled from Pakenham along with her 21-year old daughter to join the search as she “felt compelled.”


Everybody you spoke to in every volunteer or professional capacity all felt the same thing and never gave up hoping and believing.” She told The Herald Sun.

Eildon locals like locals Rhonda Best and Mark Stevens who said finding Luke was “better than winning the lottery.”

“We’ve never heard the bush scream, ‘he’s found’ so loud. The echoes that makes,” Mr Stevens said.

“Everyone came out of the bush honking their cars and roaring. I’ve never seen so many happy people.”

These are the heroes.

Luke’s mum’s relief.

The men and women that get on with it, despite driving rain or thick bush, despite tiredness or hunger. The people who know there is a little fella missing, a family desperate, a nation on edge.

It is these people who make us smile today and to whom we say thanks for making our day too.

To the 20 rescuers who carried Luke out on a stretcher.

To the team who had to chainsaw a path through the thick scrub so Luke could be stretchered out.

To the 50 Bush Search and Rescue.

To the SES who provided 120 members from 12 units statewide.

SES chief executive officer Stephen Griffin spoke of the joy his members felt.

“Each of our volunteers are highly trained specialists, who admirably gave up their Easter weekends with friends and family to serve the Victorian community.

“It is moments like this that inspire them to give their time so willingly.”

To the paramedics who stayed for four days leaving their families over Easter.

To the women who rustled up the sausages and drinks.

They make our hearts warm.

To the police. Who for them it was simply a day’s work.

But yesterday – a good day’s work.

In a job where tragedy and heartache are a daily feature a happy ending is a welcome relief.

“Too often we see tragedy … but to be able to give his parents the news that he’s well and he’s alive and he’s been found three kilometres from where he went missing four days ago, is amazing,” Victoria Police Acting Commander Rick Nugent said.

Also amazing  – all these men and women. We thank you.

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