Ben Gibbs knows the terrain around Victoria's Mount Disappointment well. He's been going there since he was a child, and the ashes of a few of his family's beloved pets lay scattered among the towering gums.
On Wednesday, he returned to that meaningful place, breaking his way through the thick bush, singing gently, hoping that a teenage boy named William Callaghan would hear him.
"I'm so grateful": William's mother speaks after his rescue. Post continues below.
William, 14, had been missing for two days, having run ahead of his family during a bushwalk near the summit on the afternoon of Monday, June 8.
William lives with autism, an intellectual disability and is non-verbal. He communicates with signs and gestures, and is uncomfortable around loud noises.
After William disappeared, his mother, Penny, and her partner phoned emergency services, sparking wide-scale search involving hundreds of police, SES personnel and local volunteers, including Ben Gibbs.
Temperatures in the area had dropped to close to freezing overnight. William didn't have a jacket or a beanie, nor any food nor water.
Having experienced exposure in the past, Ben knew what the boy had likely been through.
"Exposure's a terrible thing, the cold," he said, "so I really felt for him."