A true father’s love is unconditional and one father decided to prove that in the most spectacular way. When his son went missing, Tony Lethbridge couldn’t sleep. In fact, he couldn’t sit idly by and wait for others to find his son. So he did what any dedicated father would do, he hired a helicopter to track down his son. You won’t believe the dedication that Tony presented in the face of fear and hardship…
20. Run Away
Tony Lethbridge was absolutely heartbroken when his 17-year-old son, Samuel, didn’t return home one night. Many people simply assumed that the teenager had run off without telling his parents. However, Tony refused to believe that his son would do that so he decided to take the situation into his own hands…
19. Out Driving
The Lethbridges happen to live in Blacksmith, a suburb of Lake Macquarie, in the Australian state of New South Wales. It was a typical Sunday morning when their son Samuel decided to drive back home from Central Cost, which was about an hour away. His plans for the day included meeting up with his girlfriend near his parents home.
18. No Communication
However, the day passed by and Samuel never stopped by the house. In fact, no one had heard from Samuel all day. His siblings said that they couldn’t get in touch with him and even his girlfriend hadn’t heard from him. All of this greatly worried his parents.
17. No Answer
Tony and his wife continued to call Samuel on his cell phone, but he wasn’t picking up. That day, the couple were a few hundred miles away in the city of Canberra. They quickly turned around and drove all the way back home when they realized that they couldn’t get in touch with their son. They immediately notified the authorities that their son was missing.
16. Out of Character
Tony was pretty unhappy with the way the police reacted when he told them about his missing son. “[The police] told us that he might have ran away, he could have done this or he could have done that. And we just said, ‘It’s out of character; it’s not him.’ They put all the things in motion and we waited and waited. They just told us to go home and wait,” Tony said.
15. No Sleep
That night Tony couldn’t sleep at all. He couldn’t rest knowing that his son was out there and that he might need help. Tony also couldn’t shake off the idea that his son might have crashed the car somewhere along the drive from Central Coast. So Tony decided to take matters into his own hands…
14. An Idea
That’s when Tony realized something serious. “The way the bush is [on that route], if a car goes in you’re not going to see it. The only way you’ll see it is from the air,” Tony recalled. “That was in my head, so I just thought b**ger this, I’m not going to sit around and wait.”
13. Helicopter Ride
Tony decided that the only way he could spot his son’s car, if he had crashed, was while riding in a helicopter. So Tony got into his car and drove over to Lake Macquarie Airport with about $800 in his pocket, hoping to hire a helicopter to search with. Luckily, the airport is actually home to the Skyline Aviation Group, which does offer helicopter tours and lessons.
12. Helping Out
Unfortunately, there were some fierce winds out that day and many of the training courses of the day had been called off. However, realizing the severity of the situation, the helicopter company decided to help Tony out. A professional member of the staff agreed to help start looking for his son.
11. Afraid of Flying
Although Tony wanted to help out, he was too afraid of flying to get inside of the helicopter. Instead, his brother Michael volunteered to take the ride. Tony then stayed at home waiting from a call from Michael. That way, if they found anything, Tony could drive over right away and alert emergency services.
10. Minutes Later
The helicopter had only been in the air for what seemed like minutes when Michael spotted something that looked like Samuel’s car. The car was hidden behind a bush and off the road. Michael immediately called Tony to alert him and Tony got into his car and drove to the location.
9. Hovering Over
While waiting for Tony to arrive, the helicopter pilot lowered down to the area to drop Michael off. The pilot then began to hover over the area. This would help Tony and other emergency vehicles find the area more easily.
8. Finding The Car
Michael eventually found the car and began to approach it. He started calling out to Samuel, but the teenager wasn’t responding. However, soon enough Samuel began to slowly move his head around and Michael knew that the young man was still alive.
“When I got there, I ran down there and it was just jubilation,” Michael explained. “It was unbelievable to find him there. You wouldn’t have seen him if it wasn’t for the helicopter, because I couldn’t see him from the road.”
6. Bad Shape
Still, Samuel was in need of care immediately. The poor boy had broken bones in both his arm and thigh bones and he also dislocated his elbow. He was severely dehydrated and had cuts and scrapes all over his body. The crash ended up pinning him in the car so he was unable to get out on his own.
5. Stable Condition
Luckily, emergency services were able to remove Samuel from the car and rush him straight to the hospital. He would have to undergo surgery for his broken thigh bone and underwent many scans. Fortunately, he is in stable condition.
4. Crash Site
Once Tony got to the crash site he immediately rushed over to his son. “He spoke to me when I got down to the car,” Tony explained. ”I grabbed him and I said, ‘Mate, Dad’s got you.’”
3. Wonderful Service
When Tony first got to the aviation company, he told them that he would initially pay them $800 and then cover the rest of the costs later. The company agreed to continue searching for Samuel even if the $800 didn’t cover all of it. When Tony and his wife tried to pay the entire cost later on, the company sent them their money back.
“We recognize that the family will have many medical expenses in the future and wanted to contribute where we can. Under the circumstance we believe there has been enough stress on the family, and that any additional financial stress was unwarranted,” said the helicopter pilot.
1. So Grateful
Megan Lethbridge was beyond grateful to the aviation company for their generosity in such a hard time. “It’s hard to believe that there are still some wonderful people in this world,” she wrote on Facebook. “I thank you again from the bottom of my heart.”