Bushwalkers missing

A SEARCH party was yesterday unable to find two bushwalkers feared lost in the Bellinger River National Park, west of Dorrigo.

The two men, aged 25 and 41, failed to return from a weekend bushwalk.

An eight-hour search of rugged terrain was called off yesterday at sunset.

Four State Emergency Service volunteers and three police units have been unable to find any trace of the men.

They were dropped off at Ebor on Friday to hike to Thora near Bellingen by Monday night.

The alarm was raised when they had not reached their destination by nightfall.

Bellingen SES Unit Controller Toby Cuthel said the ground search commenced yesterday at 10am in the upper Bellinger River Catchment, west of Darkwood.

Mr Cuthel said the search is likely to resume early today, if the men had not made contact with their families overnight.

“It is pretty rugged forest and the search from the Thora end has been unsuccessful so the tact (today) may be to trek in where the men were dropped off,” Mr Cuthel said.

Police search-and-rescue co-ordinators hope weather conditions will allow a helicopter to conduct an aerial search.

Police say the men are not carrying a GPS, while mobile phone coverage is virtually non-existent in the forest.

Officers attached to Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command are liaising with the men’s families about their disappearance and have begun investigations.

Anyone with information about their whereabouts is urged to contact Coffs Harbour Police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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