A British teenager is "back from the dead" after surviving 12 nights in Australia's unforgiving bushland by eating seeds and sleeping under his jacket, his father has said.
An exhausted and dehydrated Jamie Neale, 19, was discovered by chance by two hikers in the rugged Blue Mountains west of Sydney, ending an ordeal which began when he set off for a lone trek on July 3.
Television pictures showed Neale sporting a beard and looking bewildered but largely unharmed as he arrived at Katoomba Hospital wearing a police uniform for warmth.
Neale's father Richard Cass, who flew out from Britain to join the search, was about to board his return flight home when he was told the news, AFP reports.
The details of his rescue were not yet available, but police and the emergency services had been carrying out ground and air searches for seven days in the hope of finding him.
Jamie disappeared from a youth hostel in Katoomba on July 3. He was seen at the Ruined Castle rock formation in the Jamieson Valley on July 4 and told bushwalkers he was heading for Mount Solitary, Telegraph.co.uk reports.
Meanwhile Mr Cass, who has now been reunited with his son, said he was "gaunt and scrawny" and had been losing hope he would ever be rescued as search helicopters failed to spot him waving at them.
His son looked "gaunt and scrawny" after surviving on seeds and reeds and sleeping under a log or huddled up in his jacket, he said. "He's still a bit depressed, a bit dazed about what happened to him."
Mr Neale's mother, Jean Neale, said she had refused to believe she would never see her son again.
Speaking from her home in Muswell Hill, she told Sky News: "I never gave up hoping, I always knew he'd be coming home. He's determined and if he sets his mind to something, he will do it. I told all the family and his friends that he was coming home and I had no doubts about that. That kept them strong and in turn that kept me strong," The Press Association reports.
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