The mother of a young boy who was rescued after spending 12 hours alone in the bush in Western Australia has been injured in a car crash.
Yesterday Michelle Buckley was telling 9News of the joy she felt when her son Jimmy O’Reilly was found safe after running from an Airbnb property the family was staying in near Yallinghup.
The mother-of-two was today airlifted to hospital after the Holden Commodore she was driving crashed into a tree on Injidup Spring Road near Karli Rose about 1.30pm.
Ms Buckley was in the car with the family dog.
She was flown by the RAC Helicopter to Bunbury Hospital and is in a stable condition, while the dog is at a local vet and is understood to be well.
The crash marks the end of horror holiday for the family, whose search for their son was met with a groundswell of support from the local community.
Jimmy had been playing with his dogs in the front yard of the family’s holiday home in Yallingup before he vanished about 7am yesterday. He was wearing only his Spiderman pyjamas and gumboots.
A frantic search was sparked, with emergency services scouring the bush around the property.
An aerial search was made more difficult by the 5m-tall grasslands surrounding the home and the thick bush scrub.
Jimmy’s parents said they had started to lose hope as the weather worsened and the search looked like it was going to be forcibly ended.
“I just felt like, he’s going to be out there somewhere so scared and cold… I thought I was going to have to bury my son,” Ms Buckley said through tears.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick in my stomach… When I went out there, and I’m looking and looking and the hours went by – honestly I just broke down out there on my own,” his dad, Chris O’Reilly, said.
As night fell, the boy’s grandfather and uncle kept searching, calling out his name until a breakthrough came around 7pm and the toddler was found in a fire break located around 2km from the home.
“When (Chris) brought him back, he said, ‘I told you I wouldn’t give up, I told you I’d bring him back to you,'” Ms Buckley said.
After Jimmy was reunited with his family, he was given food and water and then taken to hospital for observations and checks but appeared to be in good health and high spirits.
The family sent out a message of thanks for the efforts of police, SES, volunteers and local residents who helped search for Jimmy, and to those online who shared social media posts that featured his face.