CORNER BROOK — A mother’s worst nightmare ended in pure jubilation Sunday morning when her precious bundle of joy was found alive.
For more than 20 hours a massive search was conducted in the trailer park area of Curling after Tammy Peddle notified police Saturday afternoon her six-year-old son Cody Peddle had gone missing.
Hundreds of police, fire, search and rescue officials and volunteers from the tight-knit trailer park community and beyond worked through the night in an effort to find the young boy.
Cheers and sighs of relief could be heard throughout the area when word spread that team members with the Bay of Islands Search and Rescue spotted Cody three-quarters of a kilometre southeast of the trailer park from their vantage point in a helicopter.
Initially, Cody was going to be airlifted out of the woods and transported to the George (Daddy) Dawe Memorial soccer pitch in Curling. There, his mom and dozens of concerned family and friends waited anxiously for a glimpse of the slight boy, who had spent most of his ordeal in darkness and cool temperatures.
However, authorities then opted to have Cody flown to Western Memorial Regional Hospital for observation.
“I am just glad he’s alive,” a distraught, soft-spoken Tammy said while waiting for the chopper at Dawe Pitch.
Damien Morrissey of the Bay of Islands Search and Rescue Team was relieved to see a happy ending to a story that had captured the hearts of people from all over the region.
“He was cuddled down in an opening and we were able to spot him with his red shirt. We had no problems. We were lucky he was in the opening,” Morrissey said.
Morrissey said the boy was alert and was in great shape other than a little dirty. He was cold and hungry.
Once the helicopter landed at Western Memorial, Cody could be viewed through the window sipping on a juice pack.
He brought smiles to onlookers who cheered once again, and his mom scurried to the awaiting ambulance to get a quick look at her son before he was brought into the hospital for observation.
Back at the trailer park, a few of Cody’s friends could be spotted riding their bikes or hanging out in the yard, and a handful of neighbours strolled around as the sun shone brightly.
“Welcome Home Cody” was printed on a poster on the front door of his home with balloons strung around the front deck.
The solitude was in stark contrast to hustle and bustle of search and rescue officials working feverishly against the clock.
Gerard Morey lives across the road from Cody. A resident of the trailer park for nine years, Morey choked back tears as he talked about the ordeal with a story-book ending.
“It’s a miracle I tell you,” Morey said. “We didn’t want to think the worst. We just lied down for awhile last night, got some sleep and went looking again.”
Outpouring of emotion
Morey was touched by the outpouring of emotion from people from all over western Newfoundland who came to help out a boy most never even knew.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. It was perfect,” he said, holding back tears again.
Only 50 feet up the road, six-year-old Darcy Brake, one of Cody’s friends, was hanging out with a friend and didn’t really grasp the gravity of the situation his bud had gone through.
“It was not good that he was lost, but it’s real good that he was found,” said Darcy, who was worried but now he plans on spending more time with Cody.
Liam Taylor, 8, was happy to know his buddy was safe and he knew exactly what he was going to say once he saw Cody.
“I’m going to tell him don’t go back in the woods again,” Liam said.
Tammy Peddle and a handful of family members, including Cody’s grandparents, arrived home from Western Memorial Hospital around 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Nobody from the family was willing to comment, but a relieved mother said her son would be kept in hospital overnight for observation and is expected to be released today.