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Matilda Moule’s mum’s ‘eternal’ thanks to search heroes after Pilbara disappearance

Natalie RichardsThe West Australian
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VideoHeartwarming pictures have captured the incredible moment a toddler was reunited with her family after she went missing for almost 24 hours in outback Western Australia.

The mother of Matilda Moule - the three-year-old girl who spent 24 hours lost on a remote Pilbara station - have commended the “humongous” efforts of search crews who helped find her daughter.

Kate Paull said her and her partner Nathan were “emotionally and mentally exhausted” after their little girl disappeared after wandering from Noreena Downs Station with her dog Wolfy last Wednesday.

Despite floods hampering the search, Matilda was found alive, covered in red dirt with the faithful Jack Russell still by her side on Thursday afternoon.

“We just wanted to make sure everyone got thanked cause that’s how we rock and roll,” Ms Paull wrote on Facebook.

“We apologise for it coming late we had 73mls (of rain) the night of arvo they were both found and we got rather busy and we are also emotionally and mentally exhausted.”

Ms Paull commended the huge community effort which went into finding her daughter, which included State Emergency Services crews, WA Police, staff at a neighbouring station, a local horse riding club and the helicopter crew which spotted Matilda.

Found: Matilda Moule, with her father Nathan Moule, mother Kate Paull and grandmother Anne.
Camera IconFound: Matilda Moule, with her father Nathan Moule, mother Kate Paull and grandmother Anne. Credit: WA Police

The station is about 71km from Nullagine between Marble Bar and Newman, and is 56km from the nearest bitumen road.

She said the crew didn’t ever stop searching and travelled from around the country to help.

“I don’t think Newman really slept,” she said.

“One station bloke came all the way from QLD and got halfway out to Noreena found out she had been found, jumped in a motorcar with another station bloke and bolted back to town to get beverages for the celebration at Noreena of finding Matdy and Wolfy.”

That helicopter crew that found Matilda had worked with the family on previous musters and were among the first on the scene.

She said it was the spotter - who has the “eyes of a hawk” - who found Matilda wandering with her dog.

“I cant imagine the emotions they went through upon finding her and when looking as they are both parents to a young fella,” she said.

Matilda Moule.
Camera IconMatilda Moule. Credit: Facebook

“All the helicopter pilots except one were fathers with kids, some with kids the same age as Matilda, this was the same for everyone else involved in the search and helping.”

And, of course the biggest thanks were saved for the Jack Russell which, like Matilda, was covered in red dirt after the ordeal.

“Wolfy I always said you were a good little dog and you never let us down, thank you from the bottom of our heart little fella for being her protector and keeping her safe, you are very loyal and special. xxxxooo,” Ms Paull said.

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