LIFE

Dad Has A Gut Feeling About Missing Teen Son So He Hires A Helicopter For $800 And Finds Him

by Caralynn Lippo
Caralynn is a writer, native New Yorker, TV enthusiast, and dog mom to Hobbes.

Never let it be said that only moms have uncanny protective instincts when it comes to their kids!

Australian dad Tony Lethbridge had a bad feeling when his son Samuel failed to come home on January 14, 2018. According to the Huffington Post, the 17-year-old had set out on a drive that Sunday to meet his girlfriend in a nearby town. But Samuel never made it there.

Once no one had heard from Samuel in a full 24 hours, his family began to panic. Samuel’s parents, Tony and Lee, went to the police to report their missing son’s disappearance, but they were reportedly told to simply go home and wait.

“They told us that he might have run away, he could have done this or he could have done that, and we just said, ‘It’s out of character; it’s not him,'” Tony told the Sydney Morning Herald. The worried dad had a specific hunch that his son had crashed his car and was lying injured somewhere. He recalled an accident that had happened in the same area where Samuel had been traveling and how that driver passed away because he wasn’t found for five days.

“That was in my head, so I just thought, ‘Bugger this, I’m not going to sit around and wait,'” he explained. “With the way the bush is there, if a car goes in you’re not going to see it. The only way you’ll see it is from the air. And that’s what we did.”

“I said to my wife, ‘I’m not going to wait any longer. I’m going to hire a helicopter and go looking for him,'” Tony said.

Tony managed to pull together $1,000 AUD (approximately $800 USD) to hire a helicopter from Skyline Aviation Group. Samuel’s uncle, Michael Lethbridge, went along for the helicopter ride, as Tony struggles with flying. Within 10 minutes, Tony and his family received word that Samuel’s car had been spotted.

Tony’s hunch was exactly right: the car had crashed. Samuel had been lying in the wreck for nearly 30 hours before being found, suffering dehydration and critical injuries. Emergency services cut Samuel from the car, and he was brought to the hospital. The teen is in intensive care, but he is stable and expected to recover in time. Samuel’s sister, Megan, revealed on Facebook that Skyline Aviation Group had even refunded the helicopter cost to their family.

The Lethbridges are now holding an online fundraiser for Samuel’s recovering and praising Tony as the hero dad he is.

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Photos: Twitter / 7 News Sydney

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