Search for grandmother Patricia Byrne missing in WA’s remote Stirling Range National Park
Dozens of police and volunteers are searching the vast Stirling Range National Park. (ABC News: Kit Mochan)
A search is continuing in a remote national park in Western Australia’s south for an 84-year-old woman missing since Thursday.
Patricia Byrne was last seen at her family’s property at Mount Trio, about 330 kilometres south-east of Perth.
The grandmother was helping family members maintain walking tracks in the Stirling Range National Park when she stopped for a rest.
She was last seen walking down a fire break.
Temperatures reached 37 degrees Celsius in the region on Friday and Ms Byrne had no water or food.
Dozens of police and volunteers have been searching the area, helped by tracker dogs.
Police divers have also been called in to examine local dams and waterways.
Inspector Geoff Dixon from Great Southern District Police said the search effort had ramped up today.
“We have more SES searchers on the ground, we have police divers that have been concentrating on a number of the dams that are on adjacent properties,” Inspector Dixon said.
“The SES have got some search dogs in the area that are helping us with backtracking over some of the areas we’ve been searching in the past couple of days.”
He said overnight a helicopter searched the area using heat-detecting equipment.
“We haven’t had any success, but we’re continuing on despite.”
Concern rain may of masked footprints
Inspector Dixon said Friday had been hot, but Saturday had been windy with thunderstorms and some isolated showers.
“That’s a mixed bag for us, but we’re continuing on as best we can,” he said.
“One of the issues is that the rain can mask any footprints that might be there over the past couple of days.”
He said there was still hope Ms Byrne would be found alive.
“The family have been trying to keep their spirits up, they’ve been out and about with our search teams.”
“They’re getting a really healthy appreciation of the conditions, they live locally so they already know what it’s like in the national park, but it’s been really refreshing to be able to work with them.”
Police have appealed for the public’s help and would like to hear form anyone who was in the Salt River Road, Formby Road South, Chester Pass Road and surrounding areas on Thursday and anyone who may have seen or provided a lift to Ms Byrne.
Ms Byrne’s family have issued a statement thanking those involved in the search.
“We are very thankful of the love and support from our friends and family,” the statement said.
Ms Byrne was helping family members maintain walking tracks when she stopped for a rest. (ABC News: Kit Mochan)