Desperate dad has gut feeling about missing teen son, hires helicopter for $800 and sees a car wreck

Tony didn't buy the cops' theory that his son Samuel had just run away and he couldn't sit and wait while the police searched. So he followed his gut instinct and went out himself. And soon he would make a chilling discovery.


Parents are very protective when their children’s safety is concerned. The safety and well-being of the kids is priority number one for many parents.

Tony and Lee Lethbridge from Australia are like all other parents out there. Their worries about the safety of their son Samuel shook them like never before. One night Samuel did not show up home.

The 17-year old teenager did not come home one Saturday night. To make the things worse, he did not answer to any of his parents messages and phone calls.

This led to panic. The parents were frustrated by this situation and very worried about their son’s life. Many things came across their mind.

Very soon the parents reported Samuel missing. However, since the period from his disappearance was very short, the police told them to wait. But, parents can’t wait in such situations.

Therefore, the father began the search for his son. The first thing he did was calling Samuel’s friends. He was looking for any kind of information that may result with finding the son.

One of Samuel’s friends told Tony that Samuel was planning a trip to the nearby city in order to meet his girlfriend. He also added that Samuel was too tired that period.

This rang the bell. The panic and worries increased. Unpleasant thoughts took over Tony’s mind.

The story reached The Sydney Morning Herald. Tony told the papers:

”Everybody was saying he’s probably run away … but that’s just not Samuel.”

Tony’s hunch was that his son was involved into a car accident. The moment he learnt that Samuel was driving that local road, he remembered the car accident that happened in the past. The terrible accident that happened some years ago resulted with a death of the driver. He was found five days after the accident itself. This story even further panicked the father.

“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.”

Australia’s extremely hot weather and its wildlife made the search a race against the time. Tony said:

“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.’”

The fastest means of transport that Tony could find in the search of Samuel was a helicopter. He rented a helicopter for $800.

The helicopter was rented from Skyline Aviation Group and paid directly by the desperate father.

Since Tony could not handle flying with the helicopter, Samuel’s uncle went along for the ride.

As soon as the helicopter took off, the pilot was instructed to fly around the area Tony has pointed out. It was the place where the past tragedy occurred.

It took them only 10 minutes to locate a wrecked car. The white car was in the exact location Tony has talked about. The location was close to Newcastle, Australia.

The car could not be seen from the highway because of the thick vegetation. However, from the sky, you could easily spot the wrecked white car.

The family recognized the car and they started climbing down to their son.

They found Samuel stuck in the car. He wasn’t able to move.

He was trapped in the car for some 30 hours, without water and food. He also had some serious injuries.

The authorities cut Samuel free and they pulled him out of the vehicle. Tony recalls:

“He spoke to me when I got down to the car. I grabbed him and I said: ‘Mate, dad’s got you’.”

As soon as he saw his father, Samuel said: “I’d love a drink”.

Samuel was transferred to the local hospital. He had broken arm and leg in addition to the back and leg injuries.

The family started a fund-rising website in order to cover Samuel’s recovery.

Really great job Tony! You saved Samuel’s life.

Indeed a great story! Tony showed to a all of us that we can make a change. With clear mind and dedication we can put our resources in helping not just our dearest, but all people out there.