A 6-year-old boy who had been missing for 10 hours in rural Minnesota is home safe thanks to a massive search involving more than 600 volunteers, multiple law enforcement agencies and a drone with heat-seeking technology.
The ordeal began when Ethan Haus wandered off with his dog Remmie after being dropped off by the school bus near his family's home in Becker at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a news release by the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office.
Hundreds of volunteers from the community came together to help find him after the sheriff's office put out the word that he was missing.
The boy was eventually found in a cornfield located a little over a mile from his home at about 1:50 a.m. on Wednesday. The jubilant end to the search came just in time as temperatures had dropped into the 30s.
A happy and healthy Ethan gave an on-camera thank you to everyone who looked for him in a video by NBC affiliate KARE.
He was spotting laying down next to the family's dog in the cold by a drone equipped with a thermal camera that was piloted by local resident Steve Fines, who is a professional photographer.
"Six years old, lost out in the fields. It's 30 degrees. You can't not do something," Fines told KARE.
Fines was flying the drone over the cornfield in the dark of night when he saw something through the camera that caught his eye.
"I had seen the shape ... that I thought was the child and dog,'' he told KARE. "It didn't look like a deer. It didn't look like anything else. Then the deputy sent out the ground crew to see what it was."
Fines then watched through the drone's camera as rescuers located the boy while Remmie wagged his tail in excitement.
"I knew to fly in this field because there were ground searchers who found a footprint," Fines said. "There were 600 people that found him last night. It wasn't just me."
Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott was grateful for the massive turnout of volunteers in the search.
"This truly was the epitome of the community caring for its own,'' he said in a news release. "To see the outpouring of support in such a short time period to come out and help find this boy and his dog is heartwarming."