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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Creative way rescue teams are searching for missing autistic teenager William Callaghan

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State Emergency Service volunteers searching for missing non-verbal autistic teenager William Callaghan have revealed the unique methods being used to find him in bushland north of Melbourne.

William, 14, became separated from his family near Mount Disappointment about 2.20 pm on Monday.

He was wearing just blue trackpants and a hoodie ahead of a night where temperatures dropped below zero.

More than 200 SES volunteers joined about 150 police and emergency services looking for William.

An air-and-ground search is continuing for a lost Victorian teenager William Callaghan. Credit: News Corp
An air-and-ground search is continuing for a lost Victorian teenager William Callaghan. Credit: News Corp

Because he doesn’t speak and may scared and hiding, SES Deputy Controller Gerry Connell said rescuers were using thermal scanners and playing his favourite song in order to find him.

“We’ve been out there with our lights on and we’ve been playing Thomas the Tank Engine over our PA systems because Will really likes Thomas,” Mr Connell told Sunrise

“We’ve had our lights flashing, our sirens going, and we’re out just there listening.”

“It’s a very unique search for us and probably one of the biggest ones we’ve done so far.”

Emergency service personnel attend a briefing at the base camp at Mount Disappointment in Victoria
Emergency service personnel attend a briefing at the base camp at Mount Disappointment in Victoria, Wednesday, June 10, 2020. An air-and-ground search is continuing for a lost Victorian teenager William Callaghan, who suffers from non-verbal autism and is lost in steep and rugged terrain in Victoria. (AAP Image/James Ross) NO ARCHIVING

Search and Rescue Squad Senior Sergeant Greg Paul told reporters on Tuesday they were fighting against time, but remained hopeful.

“It’s quite life-threatening weather, but we have had people survived several nights in these weather conditions as well,” he said.

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