In late November, Matthew Allen left his home near Sydney, Australia, and headed into the bush just a few miles from him family’s home. No one saw him again until Saturday afternoon.
The 18-year-old, found covered in mosquito bites and leeches, was found Saturday afternoon in the wilderness not even two miles from his family’s home. He had been missing for nine weeks.
The teen was suffering from gangrene in his feet and lower legs, and had lost over 60 pounds during his time spent in the bush. Allen allegedly left his home in late November with a small amount of cash and some basic food items and camping equipment, according to the Herald Sun.
Matthew Allen, 18, went missing from his family’s Westleigh home in late November, with just a small amount of cash and basic camping equipment. Since the bush in that area is frequented by hikers and walkers, officials believe that Allen was on a “wilderness survival treck,” and deliberately hid himself from hikers during his nine weeks ordeal.
Eventually, however, the conditions — including a massive heat wave that nearly dried up all water sources — were too much for Allen, and the teen was found disoriented and unable to walk, lying near a hiking trail. He was lifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital, where he is currently recovering.
While none of his injuries are reportedly life-threatening, the teen is now partially blind as a result of his ordeal.
The teen reportedly told his rescuers that he’d survived by drinking water from an near-dry creek. Authorities do not believe the teen, who suffers from a mental illness, could have survived much longer.
Police also noted that Allen headed into the bush intentionally. He did not get lost there.
“We don’t have any comment, other than that our priority is getting Matthew well,” Matthew’s mother, Deborah Allen, said.
Neighbors of the family were stunned that the teen could have survived as long as he did. “It’s amazing,” one neighbor admitted. “The bush is very dense, and unless he was very au fait with how to survive in the bush I don’t know how he did it.”
Another resident, whose home backs on to the deep valley where Allen was found, said: “I couldn’t last a day down there, I’d be back again.”
Ben Wrigley of Hornsby police said it was “considered unlikely that anyone who was missing in the bush for nine weeks with little sustenance could have survived.”
“I was amazed and very happy that everything turned out the way that it happened – I couldn’t believe it,” he added.
While Matthew Allen was wandering, unprepared, in the Australian bush, another unprepared hiker was reportedly fined $25,000 for hiking without proper equipment and food supplies.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]