Teen found after nine weeks missing in the Australian bush


A teenager who has been missing for nearly nine weeks in the Australian bush has been found alive.

Police said Matthew Allen, 18, was covered in leeches and bites, had lost six stone (nearly half his body weight), was suffering from partial blindness, and had gangrene to his feet and lower legs when he was found by hikers.

The accountancy student, who lived less than two kilometres away in Westleigh, northern Sydney, told his rescuers that he had survived by drinking water from a creek bed that was almost dry.

He had not been living under any shelter, and was suffering from extreme exhaustion and dehydration when he was winched from the bush and flown to hospital.

Detective Acting Inspector Glyn Baker, from The Hills Local Area Command, told The Herald: "He was in such a poor state.

"He was completely exhausted, completely dehydrated, suffered significant weight loss, somewhere up to 50 per cent. He was suffering from partial blindness and he had leeches all over him."

Police launched an appeal to find Matthew when he was reported missing by his mother on 27 November.

She told The Australian: "We don't have any comment, other than that our priority is getting Matthew well."

One neighbour, whose home backs onto the valley where Mr Allen was found, told the paper it was amazing he'd lasted nine weeks on his own, saying: "I couldn't last a day down there."

He added that he thought it likely Mr Allen had lived on freshwater fish and possibly also on frogs.

Detective Senior Constable Ben Wrigley, who had been involved with the case from the start, said he was delighted Mr Allen had been found, telling The Herald: "Anyone who is missing for that length of time in those kind of conditions - you wouldn't expect to see them again.

"I was amazed and very happy that everything turned out the way that it happened. I couldn't believe it."

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