Police, Ambulance, SES and community members were all on scene to help find missing toddler Aurora Kyle.
Police, Ambulance, SES and community members were all on scene to help find missing toddler Aurora Kyle. Marian Faa

RESCUE EFFORT: 100 rushed to find Aurora in dead of night

MEMBERS of the community responded with unprecedented haste when a desperate grandmother pleaded for help to find lost toddler Aurora Kyle.

More than 100 people from the surrounding area dropped everything, with carloads of people were pulling in to the rural property at Wildash as late as 11pm on Friday night.

The tremendous show of support from people as far away as Goondiwindi was testament to the community's compassion for a family in need.

Warwick resident Teilah McKelvey said many of the volunteers who showed up to help were parents themselves.

"They they could empathise with the family," she said.

 

Leisa Bennett and Jake Miller in front of the mountain where they found three-year-old Aurora this morning.
Leisa Bennett and Jake Miller in front of the mountain where they found three-year-old Aurora this morning. Marian Faa

Good intentions lead to logistical chaos

But the unforeseen influx of generous helpers may have added an unintentional level of chaos to the search and rescue effort according to SES group leader Matthew Sondergeld.

"It was brilliant for everyone to come and help," Mr Sondergeld said.

"The people that did come out with their own torches and the right shoes, they were invaluable to the search."

But others arrived and began searching without registering with the police or SES, causing a "logistical hazard" for those conducting the search.

"We have a duty of care to look after everyone that comes out here," Mr Sondergeld said.

In the middle of the night in thick, dangerous bushland, SES volunteers were concerned for some members of the public.

"Some of it was hands-and-knees country, you just couldn't walk it," Mr Sondergeld said.

"People would be five meters from you and you just could not even see them it was that thick and dense."

Mr Sondergeld said he did not want to discourage members of community from volunteering their support in future emergencies.

"On the whole it was amazing how many people come and helped and were willing to do anything that we asked of them," he said.

But Mr Sondergeld offered some advice for those wishing to help in the future.

"When they turn up, what they need to do is find the SES coordinator who wears a big bright orange vest or a police officer and they will direct people to a designated area," he said.

"That way if there is 100 people searching we can put our hand on heart and know we have a 100 people back and they are all safe and well."

Mr Sondergeld said people should wear sturdy shoes and bring their own torch and water when going to search and rescue missions.

Praise for volunteers

A tremendous number of SES volunteer from as far away as Gatton, Laidley and Forrest Hill responded to the call for help when young Aurora was reported missing on Friday night.

"We put the call out at 9pm on Friday night and the next morning we had 64 SES volunteers there on the ground," Mr Sondergeld said.

Crews came from Texas, Goondiwindi, Inglewood, Yelarbon, Wallangarra, Stanthorpe, and Toowoomba, Gatton, Laidley and Forrest Hill.

"It was amazing how everyone just dropped everything and gave up their weekend."

There were also 45 police officers and two helicopters conducting aerial searches of the property and surrounding area.

Mr Sondergeld estimated the search covered around 50 acres on foot.

A team of men on horseback led by Warwick doctor John Kiss were also poised to join the search on Saturday morning, but thankfully they were saved by the news that Aurora had been found.

Early on Saturday morning, Aurora and her loyal dog Max were found at the top of a mountain on her grandfather's property.



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