Police admit little hope of finding Tasmanian bushwalker James McLean alive
By Ainsley Koch
A search-and-rescue party looking for a missing Tasmanian bushwalker have stumbled on another walker needing help because of an injured ankle.
- Police do not expect to find James McLean alive
- Searchers stumbled across an injured bushwalker during search
- Mr McLean has not been seen since November 12
Search crews unexpectedly located the 38-year-old Hobart man on Wednesday during the search for James Hugh McLean, who authorities admit there is little hope of finding alive.
The bushwalker, who has not been named, became stranded with an injured ankle near Craycroft Crossing in the state’s south-west wilderness.
Search crews have been scouring the same area for Mr McLean, who has not been seen since November 12.
He signed into the Huon Track registration hut on November 13, but has not been seen since.
The search team deployed a helicopter on Wednesday night which failed to find any trace of Mr McLean, despite using highly sophisticated night vision equipment.
Acting Inspector Andrew O’Dwyer said search crews scaled the entire walking track between Mount Rugby and the Huon Track where he began his journey, via ground and air for more than a week.
James McLean signed on to the Huon Track in southern Tasmania on November 13. (WordPress/Imahiker)
“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,” said Acting Inspector O’ Dwyer.
Police are reviewing whether the search will continue.
Mr Mclean is a highly experienced bushwalker and is renowned for venturing off-track without adequate supplies.
The terrain is known for being thick, with Hobart Walking Club president Geoff O’ Hara telling the ABC that the wilderness could be unforgiving.
“The really intense [scrub] is very difficult to get through … it’s very wearing on your body, you get very, very tired,” he said.