Ben Gibbs found the non-verbal autistic teenager about lunchtime on Wednesday, nearly 48 hours after William became separated from family on the Mount Disappointment summit.
Mr Gibbs, who grew up in the area, found him about 20 minutes off the track, and found William a little deeper in the bush than previous searches had covered.
“”He was just about 15 metres from me, just standing there, he was really angelic just standing,” Mr Gibbs said.
“He looked in reasonable health, he wasn’t shivering too bad, he didn’t have socks on so I put some socks on him and a jacket. I gave him some chocolate.”
Mr Gibbs felt like he was on track to finding William before discovering the boy.
“This is kind of our family mountain. I’ve been going here since I was a boy, so I know it well,” he said.
William was taken to the search staging area about 1pm.
Blue tarps were erected to shield William’s reunion with his family, during which he gave his mum Penny a hug.
Hundreds of people were searching for him, as temperatures in the area plummeted.
William’s favourite tune, Thomas the Tank Engine, was blasted over sound systems to try to draw him out, and food was left out for him to find.
A wave of relief went through the camp when news broke of the boy’s discovery.
Smiles and tears spread over the faces of his family, friends and those who searched high and low for him.
Ms Callaghan spoke to the media just hours earlier, saying she hoped her son would be found today.
“I am not the praying type, but I’m praying now, because I want him home,” she said.Jump to next article