Their parents were dead, their SUV overturned, but three children under the age of five managed to survive in the scorching heat of the Australian outback for 55 hours, local media reported.
His remaining family has called him “a miracle.”
Jake Day and Cindy Braddock “were involved in a fatal car accident in Western Australia on Christmas morning,” said a GoFundMe set up by Day’s cousin Casey Guyer.
“Devastatingly, Jake and Cindy did not survive the crash,” he said, adding that “it was a miracle that their beautiful babies survived for more than two days in the Australian outback before being rescued.”
The children have not been named.
Day and Braddock were reported missing in the early hours of Christmas morning, prompting a massive police search, Australian broadcaster 7News informed.
As hours passed with no news, Braddock’s sister, Helen Braddock, took to Facebook for help. She said the family had left the small town of Northam to “go home to Kondinin”, another small town some 125 miles away.
In a separate interview with 7News, another of Day’s cousins, Michael Read, said the oldest of the three children, a 5-year-old girl, had freed her 1-year-old brother by unbuckling the car seat.
Describing her as “smart”, he said that his brother “would not be with us today”, unless she had done this.
Inspector Tony Vuleta, from the Western Australia Police Force’s Wheatbelt District Office, told 7News that the two older children were outside the vehicle when authorities arrived on the scene and the baby was still inside.
His vehicle was discovered just over 5 miles from his home in Kondinin.
Both brothers, along with the 3-year-old boy, were taken to the hospital, Guyer said on his fundraising page.
“I have gone to visit the children and I cannot overcome their strength,” he said.