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Astonishing moment boy, four, is spotted from the air after surviving in the African wilderness

A four-year old boy has incredibly managed to survive for six days on his own after getting lost in Kenyan wilderness.

The young boy from the town of Asa, miraculously went unharmed despite wandering over 11 miles from his home and into a remote area filled with jackals and hyenas.

The young boy had gone missing during a storm after a day of herding livestock with his brothers on November 28. During the torrential weather, the boy became separated from his siblings and found himself lost in the Kenyan bush. 

After six days on his own, the young boy was eventually found after a search party was deployed to find him. He was spotted from the air by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley who worked for the nearby Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

After six days on his own, the young boy (pictured) was eventually found after a search party was deployed to find him. He was spotted from the air by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley in the Kenyan wilderness

After six days on his own, the young boy (pictured) was eventually found after a search party was deployed to find him. He was spotted from the air by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley in the Kenyan wilderness

A search party of 70 men were fanning through the wild scrubland in search of the little boy. They are pictured by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley from overhead

A search party of 70 men were fanning through the wild scrubland in search of the little boy. They are pictured by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley from overhead

Pilot Roan Carr-Hartley captured the joyful moment the boy, who had been lost for six days, was reunited with the village search-party

Pilot Roan Carr-Hartley captured the joyful moment the boy, who had been lost for six days, was reunited with the village search-party

The day after, with the boy still yet to return home, the Asa community chief phoned Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to ask if they would help their 70-member search party find the boy to bring him safely home.

The chief had heard from a neighbouring village that the wildlife trust had assisted them with finding a lost child just days before, using a plane to locate them from the air. 

Pilot Roan Carr-Hartley, writing a blog post about the incident, said he set out to search for the boy early the next morning.

‘By the time I was overhead,’ he wrote, ‘a search party of 70 men were fanning through the wild scrubland in search of the little boy. I had a rough direction of the search party’s location given to me by the Chief. The party had tracked the boy to an area seven kilometres from his village, but then the tracks started to become unreadable.’

For four hours, the pilot scanned the area without luck, only discovering packs of hyenas and jackals.

Members of the search party run towards the lost young boy in astonishing images taken by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley

Members of the search party run towards the lost young boy in astonishing images taken by pilot Roan Carr-Hartley

Members of the search party embrace the young boy who had survived on his own in the unforgiving wilderness filled with predators

Members of the search party embrace the young boy who had survived on his own in the unforgiving wilderness filled with predators

‘It was an unforgiving environment for any person to be alone, let alone a child so young,’ Carr-Hartley wrote.

The only solace of good news was that it had rained recently, meaning the boy would at least have access to water.

After a long stint in the air, the pilot flew back to base to refuel, before heading out again for another three-and-a-half hours.

Carr-Hartley said: ‘It seemed hopeless searching for a tiny boy in such a huge expanse of wilderness. There have been times where I haven’t been able to locate a particular elephant for up to a week, let alone a four-year-old child.’

But despite it raining again that night, meaning the lost boy would be able to find water, the weather had washed out his tracks. The search party was losing hope.

Then, five days later after the boy had gone missing, the pilot received another call form the chief telling him that they had found tracks again – a staggering 9 miles (15 kilometres) from his home.

‘Hope had been reignited, and I was incredibly eager to keep searching,’ Carr-Hartley wrote. ‘I kept thinking of the poor little guy alone out there and wanted to do everything possible to find him — even if it seemed like an impossible mission.’

As soon as the sun had risen the next day, Carr-Hartley was back in the air again, determined to find the young boy, with the search-party still on foot.

After an hour scouring for the young boy, ‘a miracle happened’.

Carr-Hartley recalled his relief: ‘Off my left wing, I saw a tiny figure below me, surrounded by a mass of shrubs and trees.’

‘I could not believe my eyes, but there he was: a tiny boy surrounded by endless wilderness. I was in shock that he was still alive and walking.’

Understandably scared, the young boy initially hid from the plane, finding cover under bushes and trees. The heroic pilot said the boy was ‘obviously hypoglycemic and stumbling as he walked’.

Heroic pilot Roan Carr-Hartley is pictured with the search party after teaming up to bring the young boy home

Heroic pilot Roan Carr-Hartley is pictured with the search party after teaming up to bring the young boy home

The young boy is miraculously reunited with his family and members of his village, who rejoice in his return

The young boy is miraculously reunited with his family and members of his village, who rejoice in his return

He circled his plane tightly, trying to get the attention of the on-foot search party with no other way of communicating with them.

To his relief, three members of the search party appeared, so Carr-Hartley reached out of his plane to point down to the boy, taking photos of the miraculous reunion.

‘They eventually got to the boy, who was frozen still in disbelief that his ordeal was over. Upon reaching him, they lifted him above their shoulders and began cheering and chanting. It was a sight that made me well up as I watched from above.’

Carr-Hartley then made his way back to the boy’s village to join in the celebrations of his return.

‘When I showed his mother the photos of her boy, she broke down into tears. She couldn’t believe he was still alive and was flooded with emotion.’

The search party had carried the boy back home, as is their custom, chanting songs of thanks and blessing. Covered in mosquito bites and scratches from thorn bushes, the boy was given water and put onto a slow drip as doctors monitored him.

Carr-Hartley was gifted a goat by the community’s elders, and flew back home.

Some days later, Car-Hartley received an update from the boy’s parents, telling him that the boy had recovered well. In honour of his heroic efforts, they had added ‘Roan’ onto the boy’s name, and had been nicknamed ‘Pilot’ by his friends.


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