AFTER 48 hours of fearing for the worst, a faint cry of “Mummy, I’m here” ended the search for four-year-old Shayla Phillips.
Shayla’s mum Bianca Page got the news she was desperately waiting for.
Searchers had been calling out her name repeatedly as they searched and eventually she popped her head up from the bushes to say, “Mummy, I’m here.’’
About 100 personnel from Tasmania Police, SES, Parks and Wildlife Service, Victorian police, drone operators, helicopters and searchers on horseback had been searching the heavily wooded area nearby Shayla’s Stormlea home for two days and two relatively cold nights.
Ms Page was reunited with her daughter and immediately they were taken by paramedics to the Royal Hobart Hospital for assessment.
The remarkable survival brought joy to all Tasmanians and beyond.
Ms Page took to Facebook to thank everyone involved “from the bottom of my heart’’.
“I am currently sitting here with my precious baby girl with a few bruises, scratches, bites and an urine infection after spending over 48 hours alone in the bush,’’ Ms Page emotionally revealed. “A huge big thank you to the SES, Tasmania Police, Victorian officers, ambulance and all the locals of the Peninsula, my friends and family and the whole of Tasmania.
“The messages I received from everybody, your thoughts and prayers were all so overwhelming.
“I seriously honestly cannot thank you enough.’’
Shayla was found on March 25 about 4pm in bushland one kilometre from where she was last seen, playing with neighbours dogs in her backyard.
Inspector Gavin Hallett said Shayla was found in a heavily wooded and sloping area, where searchers crawled on hands and knees to ensure nothing was missed.
“We always believed that we would find her. We knew that we would,’’ Inspector Hallett said.
“It was an effort of perseverance.
“This was always a search-and-rescue operation, no one wavered in their resolve to find Shayla and bring her home safely.
“I’m relieved we have achieved the outcome we had all hoped for.’’
Tasman Mayor Kelly Spaulding spoke for the whole community when he thanked all those involved in the search.
“The response from the community was amazing, and included people dropping off donations of food and too many offers of help to mention everyone individually,’’ Mr Spaulding said.
“A heartfelt thank you. “I’m very proud to say that this is just another fine example of how our community comes together in difficult times.
“The NBN brought in emergency booster technology to help with internet coverage for emergency services at short notice and there were literally hundreds of people ready to assist with searching if the search was expanded.’’