Australian police step up search for missing British backpacker

The search for missing British backpacker Aslan King was escalated on Sunday, with a helicopter, sniffer dogs, mounted police, off-road motorbikes, search boats, and a thermal imaging sensor used to no avail.

Mr King, a 25-year-old illustrator usually based in Bristol, had been in Australia for two weeks and was camping with four friends when he had what appeared to be a seizure and struck his head. His friends told authorities he rushed into nearby bushland in a disoriented state.

The campsite was near Princetown, about 230km south-west of Melbourne, and in an area with challenging terrain. More than 60 people from Victoria Police, the State Emergency Services and Park Victoria searched for Mr King on Sunday.

The site is close to Gellibrand River and just a few hundred metres from the ocean. Crews are also dealing with thick scrub, having to crawl to get through some areas. Rocky clifftops and deep coastal waters also pose serious concerns for the rescue effort, and authorities have expressed grave concerns for Mr King’s welfare.

Mr King disappeared at around 2am on Saturday morning. Victoria Police Acting Senior Sergeant Barber said the travellers had only arrived at the campsite on Friday and would be “very unfamiliar with the area”.