Australian Father Follows Hunch, Hires Helicopter to Find Injured Teen Son in Car Crash

Samuel Lethbridge, 17, is ‘lucky to be alive’ after his father hired a helicopter to search for him. (Michael Lethbridge via AP)

A father’s hunch in hiring a helicopter to search for his missing son may have saved the teen’s life when the chopper spied the 17-year-old’s wrecked car on the side of the road.

Tony Lethbridge, of New South Wales, Australia, said he feared the worst when his son, Samuel, did not return home Sunday morning after a Saturday night out with friends in the nearby city of Newcastle.

He reported his son as a missing person to police and then contacted a helicopter service to help him in the search, Sky News reported.

“When I saw the police, they thought he’d run away. I said ‘that’s not Samuel.’ When he doesn’t show up or phone, something’s seriously wrong,” Lethbridge told the Associated Press.

He added: “I understand that they’ve got a lot to do and they hear this every day, but I took matters into my own hands and was thinking all night that tomorrow morning, I’m just going to get a helicopter and go looking for him because we’re running out of time — it’s been long enough.”

The search paid off. Samuel’s car was spotted among the trees off the road about 12 miles from the family’s home in Lake Macquarie.

The teenager was cut out from the wreck some 30 hours after the crash. He suffered multiple fractures and remains in serious condition, officials said.

“[He’s] very lucky to be alive,” said Jeff Atkins, inspector with the New South Wales Ambulance, according to Sky News.

Lethbridge got in touch with Lee Mitchell, pilot and part-owner of Skyline Aviation Group at Lake Macquarie, for help.

“He came in looking anxious and somewhat fatigued and said he needed a helicopter bad,” Mitchell told reporters. “He just said: ‘I’ve got [$797] on me, will that be enough?’ and we said: ‘Yes, it would.’”

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SOURCE: Fox News,