A missing three-year-old boy was found in a secluded forest six days after his family mistakenly left him at church.
Tristan Gerald Payuran was taken by family members to attend a Catholic mass in Quezon province, the Philippines, but when they returned home they realised he was gone.
Worried family members rushed back to the church for him but they did not find the toddler anywhere and he was reported missing on March 26.
A rescue party was formed by local officials to search for the missing boy and he was found six days later on April 1 in the middle of the forest starving and extremely dehydrated.
The team found the boy in a nearby mountain with the help of villagers. He had been sheltering under dried leaves and pieces of bamboo but was too weak to talk or stand.
They wrapped the boy’s body in a thermal blanket to regulate his temperature before taking him to the hospital boarding an ambulance at foot of the mountain.
Miraculously, the boy was uninjured and only needed a few days of rest as he had not eaten for almost a week. He was discharged on April 3.
Local official Kenneth Nantes said the boy may have been looking for his way home after being forgotten at the church but wandered into the mountain trail instead.
He said: ‘His family members may have mistakenly forgot about him as they were in a hurry to return home after church due to Covid-19 restictions.
’The boy might have tried to walk back home alone but followed the mountain train instead.’
Kenneth added that locals who lived near the spot where the boy was found helped the rescuers follow the boy’s tracks but it took the team six days since they could find any witness who could point where the boy might have gone.
He added: ’No one saw the boy. We can’t find any witness. All we could do was to try all possible areas where he might have gone to from church. The locals helped us find tracks and led us to the forest.’
Doctors found the boy was now safe and returned him to his family after spending two days at the hospital.