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Emotional moment toddler missing in bush was reunited with family

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

James O’Reilly, known as Jimmy, was playing in the front yard of his family’s holiday home in Yallingup with his dogs when he vanished.

An emotional Western Australian family has spoken of the moment they were reunited with their three-year-old boy after he was lost in dense bushland for more than 12 hours.

James O'Reilly, known as Jimmy, was playing in the front yard of his family's holiday home in Yallingup with his dogs when he vanished at about 7am yesterday. He was wearing only his Spiderman pyjamas and gumboots.

READ MORE: Missing toddler found safe after vanishing from WA house

A frantic search was sparked, with emergency services scouring the bush around the property.

An aerial search was made more difficult by the five-metre-tall grasslands surrounding the family's home, and the thick bush scrub.

Jimmy's parents today said they had started to lose hope as the weather worsened into the night 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," Michelle Buckley, Jimmy's mum, 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 two kilometres 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.

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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 have tonight 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.

Source: 9News

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