A mother whose toddler son went missing in dense bushland has suffered a traumatic end to her nightmare weekend away.
Three-year-old James ‘Jimmy’ O’Reilly sparked a desperate search after he wandered into bushland surrounding the AirBnb home his family were staying in at Karli Rise in Yallingup, 256km south of Perth, on Saturday morning.
His distraught mum Michelle Buckley feared she would never see her little boy alive again, before Jimmy was miraculously found 12 hours later as darkness fell.
Less than 48 hours later, Ms Buckley was on her way home back to Perth when she lost control of her Holden Commodore, which veered off the road and slammed into a tree.
The crash near the intersection of Karli Rise and Indijup Spring Road just before 2pm on Monday happened less than a kilometre away from the holiday property her son disappeared from – and not far from where he was found.
Michelle Buckley crashed her Holden Commodore (pictured) on Monday, 48 hours after her three-year-old son Jimmy went missing in dense bushland
Ms Buckley was airlifted by RAC Helicopter to Bunbury Hospital, where she remains in a stable condition and is being treated for minor injuries, including cuts and neck and back soreness.
Nine News footage shows the written-off car left on the side on the road with extensive damage to both the front and rear.
Young Jimmy and his baby brother weren’t in the car at the time, having left with their father earlier.
The family dog travelling with Ms Buckley at the time of the crash was taken to a local vet and is believed to have survived.
It’s understood Ms Buckley had stayed behind to finish cleaning up the holiday property after the family’s four-day trip from hell.
The cause of the crash is unknown but police say no other vehicles were involved.
It’s been a weekend Perth mum Michelle Buckley (pictured on Sunday) would rather forget
A day earlier, Ms Buckley broke down as she recalled her fears that her son may be found dead after he vanished in atrocious weather conditions.
She had been feeding her baby son Henry when Jimmy followed the family’s dogs into nearby bushland on Saturday, the morning after the family had arrived at the property.
His Spider-Man pyjamas and wellington gumboots helped protect Jimmy in freezing conditions for the next 12 hours as strong winds, heavy rain and hail battered the region.
As night fell and still no sign of Jimmy, Ms Buckley and her partner Chris O’Reilly were living every parent’s worst nightmare.
Little Jimmy O’Reilly, pictured with his relieved parents Michelle Buckley and Chris O’Reilly was all smiles on Sunday, a day after he spent 12 hours lost in dense bushland
‘Once it was getting close to sunset, I was really starting to panic,’ Ms Buckley told reporters.
‘I was just losing hope, I honestly thought we were going to … find him dead.
‘I didn’t think I was going to find him alive, I thought I was going to have to bury my son. I felt hopeless.’
Her partner added: ‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick in my stomach… When I went out there, and I’m looking and looking and the hours went by – honestly I just broke down out there on my own.’
Jimmy’s disappearance sparked a widespread search that included a police helicopter, search dogs and mounted units, State Emergency Service volunteers and local residents desperate to help find the blond-haired blue-eyed youngster.
Jimmy O’Reilly vanished around 7.30am on Saturday at Karli Rise in Yallingup, south of Perth
Two days later, Jimmy’s mum crashed her car after leaving the property to head home to Perth
Michelle Buckley was airlifted to hospital after the crash (pictured) and is in a stable condition
Locals regard the areas as one of the most dangerous precincts in the Cape’s region.
Jimmy was miraculously found by his grandfather and uncle at about 7pm on Saturday night, two kilometres away from where he vanished.
While cold, thirsty and hungry, Jimmy was relatively unscathed.
Ms Buckley fell to the floor when she learned Jimmy had been found.
‘They put him in the car and brought him back to us. We brought him inside, took off his pyjamas and wrapped him up in a blanket,’ she told the West Australian.
‘He was smiling, talking to (his baby brother) and he said ‘I went out into the bush’, and it was just the most beautiful moment.’
A frantic search for the child was launched earlier on Saturday Pictured SES teams search bushland looking for Jimmy before he was eventually found by his gradfather
Jimmy (pictured after his big adventure) spent the night in hospital under observation
Mr O’Reilly said there was joy and tears when they heard Jimmy had been found safe.
‘I could have ran on water,’ he told reporters.
‘It was the highlight of the worst day of my life.
‘The fact that he was talking and smiling. He was definitely cold and afraid and hungry.
‘It was sad seeing him like that. But he basically walked out of it without a scratch, on him, which is crazy.’
After telling his grandfather was hungry, Jimmy was given water to drink, Oreos and a Snickers chocolate bar before an emotional reunion with his parents.
Jimmy O’Reilly, 3, (pictured) was found safe and sound after a desperate search in bushland
Jimmy was then transported to hospital and after an overnight stay for observation, was discharged on Sunday morning.
The adorable youngster was in high spirits on Sunday as he expressed delight in being reunited with his beloved stuffed bunny and charmed media crews there to report on his miraculous rescue.
‘He said ‘I went into the bush,’ and I thought oh my God, do you know how much stress you caused?’ Ms Buckley told Nine News.
Jimmy’s parents, along with WA Police Force thanked the emergency service volunteers and community members involved in the search.
WA Premier Mark McGowan was also pleased to hear Jimmy had been found safe and well.
‘I’m sure all of us who are parents felt for his family in that very traumatic situation,’ he said.
‘Finding little Jimmy was a wonderful thing. A tragedy averted.’