A frantic search by the East London K9 search and rescue unit together with the Berlin police led to the successful discovery of 104-year-old Nqisa Nqokola who went missing on Friday.
Nqokola, who lives in the small community of Berlin which is 40km outside East London, was found cold and tired in thick bushes 1km from his home in Emabaleni village on Saturday - some 24 hours after he had gone missing.
Warrant Officer Fred Dicks of the K9 search and rescue unit said the search and eventual discovery was a "combined effort".
Dicks added he had received the call on Saturday morning and rushed to the area with his unit. When he arrived, he said a group of children playing close to the bush told him they had seen a man enter it.
"The Berlin police, K9 unit and community stepped up," Dicks told News24, adding they had entered the bush in different directions.
"I went with a dog into the bush and, after a couple of minutes, we encountered an old man sitting there, but he didn't fit the description and so we continued for a couple more minutes and made the discovery."
Dicks recalled Nqokola was tired and dehydrated when they found him at around noon on Saturday. Because emergency vehicles could not enter, they had to get creative and used a stretcher to get him out of the bush.
"He was speaking, but in isiXhosa, so I couldn't really understand what he was saying, and he looked a bit confused, but upon reaching the entrance to the bush, Nqokola was handed over to his family."
Warrant Officer Mbulelo Ndawo of the Berlin police said Nqokola was now safely back with his family.
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