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Missing Australian teen found 'covered in leeches'

By Katie Hunt, for CNN
updated 11:57 AM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
Police released this image of Matthew Allen, 18, when he disappeared from his home near Sydney in November
Police released this image of Matthew Allen, 18, when he disappeared from his home near Sydney in November
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Australian teenager found after spending two months in the bush
  • Last seen leaving his family home on November 27
  • Spotted by two hikers in dense bushland near his home
  • Winched by rescue helicopter to hospital, reunited with family

Hong Kong (CNN) -- An Australian teenager reported missing two months ago has been found alive in dense bushland not far from his home, local police say.

Matthew Allen, 18, was last seen at his family home near Westleigh, a suburb about 30 kilometers (20 miles) away from Sydney, on November 27.

Police feared the worst as the teen had not taken his mobile phone with him or accessed his bank accounts.

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Extensive searches by police and emergency services failed to find him.

On Saturday, two hikers told police that they had spotted a "disorientated man" in bushland not far from Westleigh.

When rescuers reached Allen, he was in a bad way suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

Local media said he was emaciated, covered in leeches and mosquito bites and his feet and lower legs were suffering from gangrene.

It was believed he had been in the bush the entire nine weeks he was missing, police said.

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''He was in such a poor state,'' Detective Acting Inspector Glyn Baker told the Sydney Morning Herald.

''He was completely exhausted, completely dehydrated, suffered significant weight loss, somewhere up to 50%. He was suffering from partial blindness and he had leeches all over him.''

He was winched out by a rescue helicopter and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was reunited with his family.

Allen went missing during a record heatwave when Sydney endured temperatures above 45 degrees Celsius.

According to ABC, Allen told his rescuers that he had survived on water from a creek bed that was almost dry.

Detectives have been unable to speak to him and believe there may be more to his story, ABC reported.

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