Update – search for missing bushwalker in south-west

Police are reviewing the search for a missing experienced 76 year old bushwalker who is overdue from a one month trek in the state’s far south-west.

James Hugh McLean, of Flinders Island, signed into the Huon Track walk in the Tahune area on 13 November and was planning to walk to Melaleuca before returning on 13 December. He was last seen 12 November.

Mr McLean did not reach his food drop in Melaleuca and subsequently he has not returned home. He is a reasonably experienced walker who has completed walks in this area before and he is known to deviate from submitted walk plans.

Acting Inspector Andrew O’Dwyer said that more than 100km of walking tracks leading in and out of the area had been covered by ground search parties during the week-long search.  These same areas have also been extensively searched by air when weather conditions were favourable, including after sunset using night vision equipment.

“Despite our considerable efforts, police hold grave fears for Mr McLean. Given the length of time he has been missing, the lack of food sources within the area and the difficulty of the terrain, we must be realistic that if Mr McLean is within the South West National Park, there is now little hope of finding him alive,” he said.

“A thorough search review will be conducted to re-evaluate any significant leads, clues, calculations and historical intelligence.

“We remain in close contact with Mr McLean’s family and our thoughts continue to be with them at this difficult time.”

Anyone who may have come across Mr McLean either during the walk or who may have seen him after 13 November 2018 are asked to contact Police on 131444.