Shayla Phillips has been found alive and well after being missing for at least 48 hours.
On Friday morning, a large search operation was underway to locate the four-year-old who had been missing for more than 40 hours.
Shayla was discovered roughly a kilometre from her home in a “heavily wooded and quite slopey” location, according to Inspector Gavin Hallett.
“It appears she was lying down when she raised her head and was observed,” he said.
“It was the right spot at the right time; we could have continued the search if the SES volunteer had been looking to the left instead of the right.”
The small girl, who had long brown curly hair, was last seen playing with her two dogs in the backyard of a neighbor’s Stormlea Rd residence in Stormlea at 2.30pm on Wednesday.
An SES ground search group found her just before 4 p.m. Friday in a thickly wooded and steep region near Halls Rd.
She was transported to the hospital for medical evaluation.
“The first thing we did was reacquaint her with her mother,” Inspector Hallett said. “She was brought by ambulance only for an examination at this point in time.”
“We’ve always maintained this is a search and rescue operation, and there was nothing to indicate anything unusual had happened at the time, so we knew we’d find her if we simply continued pushing.”
The region where Shayla was found was first investigated by air, but due to the topography, no results were found.
“We’re dealing with a four-year-old girl. She wasn’t going to come to us, we had to find her,” Inspector Hallett said.
“We had to do that crawling on hands and knees to locate her, and that’s what the SES did.”
The search for Shayla involved almost 100 people from Tasmania Police, the Police Drone Unit, the State Emergency Service, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, and speciality dogs, as well as community members.
On Thursday night, intestate rescue workers arrived on the Tasman Peninsula to assist in the sweeping of the region.
On Friday, Inspector Hallett stated that the search was ongoing 24 hours a day, seven days a week.