Eildon Search & Rescue Operation
On Good Friday 3rd April 2015 Luke Shambrook wandered from the campsite where his family were spending their Easter holidays. Luke, an 11 year old autistic boy who had limited speech, was lost in the dense bush surrounding Lake Eildon (North East Victoria) for 99 hours, four and a half long days and nights.
Police, SES, Parks Victoria and the volunteer Bush Search and Rescue team were all involved in the search. Many of the fellow campers unselfishly gave up their holiday to help search for the lost boy. His beanie was found on Monday, encouraging the searchers to keep going. However, the deteriorating weather was causing concern for the chances of Luke’s survival.
On Tuesday morning, the urgent call went out for more volunteers as many of the campers and other community volunteers had to return to work. There were not sufficient facilities to cater for the additional volunteers so the Plymouth Brethren Rapid Relief Team (RRT) from Lilydale offered its services to provide food for the volunteers. Thankfully, Luke was spotted alive from a helicopter from the Air Search Wing on midday Tuesday. Emergency personnel quickly descended to where he was and a path was cut so he could be carried up the steep terrain on a stretcher wrapped in foil to where his parents were waiting. It was like a miracle! It was something to see the joy and relief of all.
The RRT’s services were used to provide a celebration BBQ for the volunteers as requested by the family to show their appreciation for what had been done. The RRT team travelled from Lilydale (approximately 100km) to willingly provide a much needed meal. The tired and hungry volunteers very much appreciated the BBQ, devouring well over a hundred sausages, but the best part of the day was the knowledge that a young boy had been returned safe and sound to his family.