Police, SES crews and volunteers are preparing to search overnight for a missing 14-year-old boy with autism at Mount Disappointment, north of Melbourne.
- About 450 people, including local volunteers, are looking for William Callaghan who went missing on Mount Disappointment yesterday
- Victoria Police Acting Inspector Christine Lalor said if anyone saw Will they should approach him in a “calm manner”
- She said Will would likely tap his chest to communicate and was wearing blue track pants and a blue hooded windcheater
An air and ground search was launched yesterday for William Callaghan, known as Will, after he was separated from his family on the south side of the summit about 2:20pm yesterday.
More than 450 people joined the search through the thick, difficult terrain about 10 kilometres north of Whittlesea today.
Shortly after 3:30pm, Acting Inspector Christine Lalor said they had not yet found Will and were prepared to search overnight with “every available resource”, including thermal scanners.
Police said temperatures plunged to around 0 degrees Celsius overnight, with similar temperatures forecast for tonight.
“Of course the longer it goes on the more concerned we are,” Acting Inspector Lalor said.
“It’s going to be another cold evening against, hence why I said it’s vital that we try to find William by nightfall.”
William Callaghan, a 14-year-old boy with autism, went missing at Mount Disappointment yesterday.(Supplied: Victoria Police)
Will was not dressed for cold weather and had no food or water with him.
Inspector Lalor said his family were devastated but “holding up as well as can be expected”.
Earlier, Senior Sergeant Greg Paul said thick vegetation in the state forest had hampered search efforts overnight.
“It’s difficult to search through the thick undergrowth here.
“It’s difficult to see someone from the air.”
But he said the thick bush would have provided some shelter and warmth from the near-freezing conditions if the boy had remained in the forest overnight.
Acting Inspector Lalor urged people nearby to check their properties thoroughly in case William had found shelter or sought food.
“If people anywhere in the area could please check their houses, bedrooms and outhouses to ensure that William’s not bunkered down there that would be much appreciated,” she said.
Police have urged anyone keen to help search for William to join existing crews to avoid confusion and more people becoming lost.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)
Acting Inspector Lalor said if anyone saw Will they should approach him in a “calm manner” with minimal noise, make sure he was warm and avoid too much physical contact.
“He will tap his chest to try to communicate,” she said.
Searchers are having to deal with dense undergrowth in the search area.(ABC News: Iskhandar Razak)
The boy is wearing blue track pants and a blue hooded windcheater.
Acting Inspector Lalor said he did not have “very good road sense”, so urged the community to take care in the area if he was found near a road.
Police say dense vegetation is making the search difficult.
James Behan and three of his colleagues were on their way to work when they decided to take the day off and help search for Will.
The men all play for the local Whittlesea Football Club.
“There was a mate up here overnight helping out as well so we thought we would take the day off and do what we can,” he said.
“Obviously it’s cold but we were going to work and then changed our minds and came up here, it’s the least we can do.”
Acting Inspector Lalor thanked those who had joined the effort, but said they had as many volunteers as they needed to safely manage the search.