A DESPERATE search is underway for a missing British tourist and his French pal in Australia after their car and belongings were found abandoned at a beach.
Hugo Palmer and Frenchman Erwan Ferrieux are believed to have been swimming or surfing at Shelly Beach, near Port Macquarie on Sunday during rough sea conditions.
NSW Police Hugo Palmer, 20, from Forest Row in East Sussex, vanished with his friend on Sunday
Facebook Erwan Ferrieux, also 20, is believed to have gone swimming or surfing with Hugo during ‘terrible’ conditions
Walkers discovered items belonging to the two friends near the shore at 6:30am local time yesterday (7:30pm Sunday GMT).
Their rental car – a silver Commodore Station wagon – was later traced by police to a car park at the beach about 240 miles north east of Sydney.
A search of the motor led to the discovery of other personal items – including travel documents.
Water and land searches have been launched in a bid to try to track down the missing pair.
BACKPACKING IN OZ
Social media posts show the two men travelled to Australia in November.
They appear to have spent time in Melbourne and Sydney before travelling north.
Mr Palmer, who is from Forest Row in East Sussex, is described as being white with fair hair, 5ft 9in (180cm) tall and of athletic build, police said.
Mr Ferrieux has dark hair, brown eyes, a tanned complexion and is between 5ft 8in and 5ft 9in (175-180cm) tall.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
The friends are believed to have arrived in the area on Sunday, according to the local Port Macquarie News.
‘TERRIBLE’ SEA CONDITIONS
Police Insp Michael Aldridge told the newspaper that recent surf conditions had been rough.
He said: “About 6.30am yesterday morning, two walkers identified two towels and some items of clothing on the beach close to the waterline.
“They also located some car keys belonging to a silver Commodore station wagon with Queensland registration plates, parked in the car park.
“Police attended, searched the vehicle then came back in the afternoon and that’s when a preliminary search started to commence.
“The concern is that a number of personal items were located in the vehicle we would believe they wouldn’t leave, such as personal items.”
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Insp Aldridge added: “We know that they arrived in Port Macquarie on Sunday morning and we believe from information provided so far that the items may have been there since Sunday evening as well.
“Chances are exceptionally slim [of surviving in the water since Sunday]; the conditions yesterday and the day before were terrible.”
A British High Commission spokeswoman said: “Our staff are in contact with police in Australia and the UK following reports of a missing British man at Shelly Beach, New South Wales.”
Twitter: @Kerrinjthomas The friends, both 20, left important travel documents and other items in their rental car
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