4-Year-Old Boy Found After Spending 6 Days Lost in Dense African Bush

The 4-year-old was returned safe to his Kenyan village 6 days after wandering off.
The 4-year-old was returned safe to his Kenyan village 6 days after wandering off.Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The boy had wandered 10 miles away from his Kenyan village, and survived among hyenas, jackals and heavy rains.

A 4-year-old boy was returned safe to his family after wandering more than 10 miles away from his Kenyan village during a storm. He had spent six days fending for himself in the African bush among hyenas, jackals and heavy rains, according to a wildlife nonprofit in Kenya.

“Their son has fully recovered and is out playing with his friends,” said 22-year-old Roan Carr-Hartley, a volunteer pilot with nonprofit Sheldrick Wildlife Trust who helped in the boy's rescue.

Last week, Carr-Hartley explained that the nonprofit received a call from the chief of Asa, a community located about 30 miles outside of the Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. The chief explained that the boy had been out herding livestock with his brothers during a storm and went missing, and the chief hoped a pilot from the nonprofit could support their search by air.

Carr-Hartley flew toward the search party the following morning, and joined about 70 men who had been tracking the boy for days.

“Four hours of scanning the sea of vegetation revealed nothing but an empty fuel tank and various animals, including hyenas and jackals,” Carr-Hartley recalled, according to a press statement. “It was an unforgiving environment for any person to be alone, let alone a child so young.”

He rejoined the search party several days later, when the chief told him the search party, who had been out looking for the 4-year-old for three days straight, rediscovered the boy’s tracks, and requested his assistance by air once again. “I was in shock that the boy was still alive, let alone walking,” he said.

After more than an hour of attempting to spot the boy from above, Carr-Hartley spotted the boy hiding near shrubs. He had no way of communicating with the search party, and worried that if he landed the plane to reach the boy by foot, he would once again lost sight of him, so instead, Carr-Hartley circled the plane tightly above the boy until the search party were alerted to the boy’s location.

“They eventually got to the boy, who was frozen still in disbelief that his ordeal was over,” Carr-Hartley said. “Upon reaching him, they lifted him above their shoulders and began cheering and chanting.”

The search party carried the boy more than 10 miles back to the village as Carr-Hartley instead landed his plane closer to the village.

“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, as one can imagine,” he said.

The boy was weak and covered with mosquito bites, scratches, and thorns, but quickly returned to good health after a visit from two nearby doctors and rehydration.  

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