4 year old boy rescued after spending six days in Tsavo East National Park

On November 29, 2022, a 4-year-old boy from Asa village in Makueni County had accompanied his brothers to herd livestock in the wilderness, hours later news broke in the village that he was missing just a few days after another missing child was rescued.

Asa area chief mobilized search teams to trace the boy’s movement, from the village located 52km east of the northern Tsavo East National Park boundary.

The search party had no success and the chief sought help from David Sheldrick Trust, who scrambled a plane to aid in the aerial search.

The following morning a group of 70 men fanned through the wild scrubland in search of the little boy, supported by a team from David Sheldrick Trust took air surveillance, with heavy rains experienced in the area, it was difficult to trace the boy’s tracks.

“Four hours of scanning the sea of vegetation revealed nothing but an empty fuel tank and various animals, including hyenas and jackals. It was an unforgiving environment for any person to be alone, let alone a child so young. However, because of heavy rains, there was no shortage of surface water. This at least gave me some peace of mind that the boy would be able to find water.” Said Roan Carr-Hartley- Pilot David Sheldrick Trust

Despite the absence of the boy’s tracks, the family and the community remained hopeful.

“On the evening of December 3, five nights after the boy went missing, the ground team had re-discovered the boy’s tracks, a staggering 15 kilometres from his village. After nearly a week of heavy rainfall, with no food and predators roaming the area, the little boy still held his breath of hope believing the path he had chosen in the thick bushland would eventually land him in a safe place he can call home.

“I spent the next hour and a half flying transects in an attempt to find the search party, so I could narrow down the general area and begin my search, but they were nowhere to be seen. But then, when I turned back to begin my westward transect, a miracle happened, Off my left wing, I saw a tiny figure below me, surrounded by a mass of shrubs and trees. I could not believe my eyes, but there he was: a tiny boy surrounded by endless wilderness. I was in shock that he was still alive and walking. I had not even begun to look for the boy; at that point, I was still searching for the group, which made it 10 times harder to believe what had just happened.” Roan added.

Pilot Roan was forced to circle around the area he had discovered the child for at least 30 minutes to keep sight of the child who could hardly be spotted from his left wing.

Three men who were part of the search party eventually appeared after spotting the aircraft and got hold of the boy who was frozen in disbelief that his ordeal was over.

“The boy initially cowered away from the plane, then began darting under bushes and trees. He was obviously hypoglycaemic and stumbling as he walked. I immediately gained altitude and began to circle tightly, keeping my eyes fixed on him. In a land where everything looks the same, once you lose sight of something it can be very difficult to find it again. With no way of communicating with the search party, I was trying to figure out how to get a team to him, when the nearest village was 18 kilometres away,” he narrated.

Extremely weak and covered in mosquito bites and scratches from the bristling thorn bushes the boy was immediately put on a slow drip before reuniting with his family.

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