A pair of elated parents in Australia celebrated a potential miracle this week when their son survived a cold night in the wilderness with only a kangaroo for company.
Simon Kruger, 7, was helicoptered to safety in Deep Creek Conservation Park on Sunday. He had been separated from his parents the day before, according to 7 News.
"He was playing outside, picking up sticks and he saw a wallaby walk by and he followed it into the bush,” father Etienne Kruger told 7 News.
A search and rescue operation was soon mounted in the park, as 40 people and two rescue helicopters scoured the outback for the boy, according to CNN. With night falling the rescuers grew more desperate. The boy was not dressed for temperatures that dipped into the low 40s. It wasn't until around noon on Sunday -- nearly 24 hours after he went missing -- that Simon was finally located by helicopter and brought to safety.
Although physically unscathed, the first words Simon said to his parents were unexpected, to say the least.
"Dad I'm okay -- I slept under a tree and there were kangaroos," he said, according to The Advertiser.
Kruger told 7 News that his son said he had been picking flowers in the bush when a wild kangaroo approached and ate some of them out of his hand. The animal then fell asleep beside him, Kruger said.
Simon's mother, Linda Kruger, said she had no doubt the protective marsupial had been sent specially to keep her son safe.
“I think God sent a kangaroo to keep him warm," she told 7 News. “I think it was a miracle, when I smell his jacket, it’s kangaroo –- bush and kangaroo.”
A resilient child, Simon appeared to be recovering well from his ordeal on Monday, reported The Daily Telegraph.
"He just got up this morning as if nothing had happened yesterday," Etienne Kruger told the Telegraph. "He's had a nice shower last night and a good sleep. It's such a relief to have him back home and be back to normal."