Cleo Smith found: Helicopter pilot describes moment he heard missing girl was found

Brianna DuganThe West Australian
VideoPolice charge WA man over Cleo Smith abduction.

A helicopter pilot who spent hours searching for Cleo Smith has described the heartstopping moment he found out she had been found alive.

Dave Ammann, 22, spent three days scouring the landscape around the Quobba Blowholes for any sign of little Cleo, her pink jumpsuit and her red and grey sleeping bag.

He said his “heart stopped” when he received a phone call at 5am on Wednesday relaying to him the miraculous news that Cleo had been found physically unharmed in a Carnarvon home and reunited with her family.

“I never really lost hope during this time... and now that they’ve found her it’s just amazing,” Mr Ammann said.

“I’m stoked, I’m really stoked. The whole town is.”

He admitted he had begun to fear the worst in the long days since Cleo’s disappearance.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was told. You don’t expect stories like these to have happy endings,” he said.

“There really aren’t any words to describe how we are feeling.”

cleo returns home
Camera IconCleo Smith with her mum Ellie Smith and stepfather Jake Gliddon in Carnarvon. Credit: Colin Murty/News Corp Australia

His colleague Nicholas Patterson, 24, who also participated in the search, said Carnarvon had come together since Cleo’s suspected abduction, with bakeries and stores bringing food and supplies to the search grounds for those looking for the little girl.

“The whole community has really shown their support for Cleo and I think that’s amazing,” Mr Patterson said.

“Everyone just wanted to help. It’s great community spirit,” he said.

Mr Ammann said the community threw their weight behind the family, and wanted to help in any way they could.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this town. What they’ve done, we’ve all done, is just amazing,” he said.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails