A toddler was found clinging to a cliff edge nearly three days after vanishing from his home in Kentucky.
Kenneth Howard was rescued from a steep, 50ft slope after searchers heard him crying following an operation involving helicopters, drones and thermal cameras.
The 22-month-old was believed to have wandered to a mine near his home in Magoffin County on Sunday evening and become trapped on the cliff-side.
Emergency crews had to use a rope and basket to lift him to safety. He was taken to hospital by helicopter but other than being dehydrated was said to be in a “remarkably good condition”.
The boy’s father, Elden Howard, said he was in “disbelief” until rescuers assured him that they had found his son and showed him a photograph.
Tickled me to death,” he told local TV station WYMT. “Best thing that ever happened to me in my life.”
Kenneth’s mother, Tasha said: “It’s been difficult. But I never did give up, because I had faith. I had faith, and I know God is with us because we wouldn’t have found him.”
The boy went missing at about 6.30pm on Sunday and the family called in the police after an hour of fruitless searching. His parents believe he must have walked out of the house through the back door.
Rescue workers were astonished that he had managed to climb over such rough terrain. “Even as a young man I don’t think I’d even attempt it,” an official told WYMT. “That child is a true Kentucky mountain boy.”
Helicopters, bloodhounds and search and rescue teams combed the woodland around the home for 67 hours before Kenneth was finally located at about 2pm yesterday.
South Magoffin Fire Department assistant chief Brent Handshoem said: ““He’s tough, that little kid is. I was froze to death and wet and every time I would think I was cold, I would think about that baby. I just didn’t want to give up on him.”
“It was a team effort,” said a Magoffin County emergency management official. “We were guided there by God’s hands.”