THE family of rescued man Frank Moloney has expressed appreciation for the emergency services that helped discover the 80-year-old, who had been missing for 30 hours.
Mr Moloney was found in Brown Hill bushland about 8.30pm on Monday, sending a wave of relief through the worried family.
His only daughter, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was impossible to put into words her admiration for the police and State Emergency Service rescue workers.
A police helicopter was involved in the search on Sunday and Monday, police rescue teams were deployed from Melbourne and SES volunteers came from Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh, Hepburn and Ararat.
The elder of Mr Moloney’s two sons described the rescue operation as “meticulously professional”, while Mr Moloney’s daughter said she was overwhelmed by the support given by the Ballarat community.
In particular, they thanked constables Patrick Biddle and Anthony McKay from Ballarat police, as well as Acting Senior Sergeant Nathan Gardiner from the Ballarat North police station.
“The family can’t thank the police and SES enough. Everyone is overwhelmed by the support,” she said.
“It highlights the importance of the SES. These people are volunteers and it is easy to take them for granted, but when it is your family, they are absolutely fantastic.”
The family spoke of its angst while waiting at home, under police direction, while rescue workers conducted the search.
Never once did they allow themselves to think the worst had happened, forever optimistic that rescue crews would find Mr Moloney.
“You can never think the worst. You can’t think about the ‘what ifs’. It’s pointless. The focus was just about finding Dad and taking it from there,” Mr Moloney’s daughter said.
“He has a tough spirit, he’s a tough old boy and there is no way he would have allowed himself to go out like that.”
Mr Moloney’s wife perhaps summed it up the best, however, when talking of her emotions when her husband was found: “It’s amazing how lucky we are to live in Ballarat. It’s an amazing place.”
Mr Moloney remained in hospital for observation yesterday and is expected to eventually become a resident at Nazareth House.