‘Why didn’t I find him?’ agony in Ruben search
FAR North SES volunteers who spent days searching for Ruben Scott have returned home frustrated and angry they could not find the two-year-old alive.
SES volunteer Sean McGuinness, who has a young child of his own, said everyone was proud to have done what they could, despite the discovery of a body in a dam at Cape York property Koolatah Station on Friday afternoon.
"It does pain your mind, but we're there to help and we do what we can to help," he said.
"We all felt frustrated, angry when we heard the news. Everyone had been where the police were, so there was that feeling of 'why didn't I find him?'"
The volunteers brought additional resources, including drones, to aid in the search, and bunked in worker accommodation on the property during their stay.
Volunteer Craig Mann-Jones said the rescue volunteers did all they could to avoid burdening the family.
"We came preparing to camp rough if we had to, we were happy to be accommodated without being a drain on their resources," he said.
"After he was found, we all moved ourselves away from that area, back to the accommodation and sat amongst ourselves to talk over what we were feeling."
Mother Natasha Scott posted a heartbreaking tribute to her son to Facebook.
"I love you so incredibly much and I'll always have you in my heart," she said. "Fly high my son, I love you to the moon and back. I wish I could've outlived you. You'll be my forever and always."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner John Bolger thanked the volunteers for their efforts.
"This shows the quality of our SES volunteers, that they're willing to leave their own family and give their time to search on behalf of other people," he said.