A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy who vanished from a service station walked along a motorway for NINE HOURS after a school trip nightmare yesterday evening.
The boy’s dad, Umair Rahim, has told how he kept praying that his son Aadil would be found safe and well after he went missing at Newport Pagnell Services near Milton Keynes.
The frantic dad said: “I had every faith that the police would find him.
“My faith helped me through a very difficult time.”
He said that his wife, who had stayed at home within their younger son, had feared the worst but he “never gave up hope.”
The six-year-old had got lost and disorientated on Friday evening after going to the loo at a service station on the M1.
After being spotted by a helicopter nine hours later, the little lad, who only had a jumper to keep him warm, was reunited with his dad.
More than 1,000 members of the public helped in the search for the schoolboy.
Umair, 31, speaking exclusively to The Sun Online from his home in Nottingham said: “My boy was thankfully found safe.
At the time you don’t really know but I couldn’t let silly thoughts get inside my head
“That’s all that matters. I never stopped hoping and police kept reassuring me they’d find him.
“He has no idea about all the fuss surrounding him.
“He had been wandering up and down the side of the motorway after going to the toilet and when he came out he couldn’t find the coach and he got lost from the rest group.”
Umair, who runs a used car dealership, told how the horror unfolded when he got a call from the police saying his son was missing.
The pupil at a school in Nottingham had been on a coach trip to London to visit some off the sights and a museum.
The group stopped for a break at Newport Pagnell Service Station near Milton Keynes, Bucks, before continuing with their 80-mile journey north to Nottingham.
Umair said: “You hear of children going missing and never being found after many years like the girl Madeleine McCann.
“But with my son we knew he couldn’t have gone far and was hopefully still somewhere nearby.
“At the time you don’t really know but I couldn’t let silly thoughts get inside my head.
NINE HOUR SEARCH
“I had to stay strong and hopeful. He hadn’t been snatched by anyone, he had wandered off and got lost.
“Thankfully he didn’t get onto the M1, he remained at the side of the motorway.”
Umair said that his relatives and close friends were relieved to hear the good news of the six-year-old’s return.
Aadil, however, was busy playing with his brother before being told by his parents to “get some sleep.”
He said: “I cannot thank the police and local community enough. They are lifesavers.
“They were excellent. My boy is fine, he is comfortable.”
His wife added: “Our child is safe, we are blessed and so thankful to everyone who helped find him. It is such a relief.”
Recounting what happened during the nine-hour search, he said: “I didn’t join the search party. I sat in the police car all night waiting and praying and hoping.
HOPING AND PRAYING
“There were helicopters searching, local people and police. The officers kept telling me: ‘We’ll find him, he can’t have gone far, we’ll find him for you.’
“They were very reassuring and comforting. I was worried because it was so cold and he didn’t have thick clothing on and I thought he may be scared and tired and hungry.
“But the police made me feel better. Then suddenly he just appeared in front of me.
“A helicopter overhead had spotted him sitting near a big block beside some roadworks on the motorway after wandering up and down.”
“It was about 4 am and he was with some officers and he just walked towards me, back to his father, as if nothing really had happened and I gave him the biggest hug. I didn’t want to let him go.”
The tearful dad added: “That was the best feeling. My boy was safe and well and not hurt.”
After being found safe and sound, the six-year-old was given a thorough check at hospital and was told he was fine.
Superintendent Amy Clements said this morning: “This was a very difficult operation involving a very young boy and we are relieved to say that Aadil has been found safe and well.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the local community, who immediately offered help in trying to find Aadil.
“Also I’d like to thank those who have co-operated with Police during this time.
“This was a large operation in difficult conditions so I’d like to also publicly thank the search and rescue teams who assisted in the search and the large number of officers involved, including the National Police Air Service which helped bring this positive resolution.
“We are so very glad that he has been found and are thankful to everyone involved in assisting with that.”