Earthmoving equipment, anthropologist assist in search for missing campers – The Age

Earthmoving equipment, anthropologist assist in search for missing campers – The Age

Now a secluded area mainly frequented by 4WD and off-road motorbike enthusiasts, the area near Crooked River and Good Luck Creek was once home to more than 1000 people when the gold rush exploded in the early 1860s.

Now its nearest populated area is Dargo to the south, said to be the most remote town in Victoria.

Experts dig through soil as the search for missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay enters its second day.Credit:Pool

Victoria Police searching for the missing campers on Tuesday.Credit:Jason Edwards

Earthmoving equipment arrives to help in the search for Russell Hill and Carol Clay.Credit:Jason Edward

Heavy rain stalled search efforts until Monday as police waited for the muddy tracks to stabilise.

Search crews got an early start at first light on Tuesday; the second day they had scoured the Grant Historic Area near Dargo and further north-west towards the Wonnangatta Valley.

Among the search party were Victoria Police detectives, search and rescue crews and forensic investigators, including one of the state’s leading forensic anthropologists.

Harry Hall, from earthmoving company H and H Contracting, returned to the site with a larger digger mid-morning, saying the team was working in rough, mountainous terrain.

Missing campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay.

However, he said police appeared confident they were searching the right area.

“We’re just trying to do the best we can, helping out the police, helping out the families [and] eventually hope to get a bit of closure for everyone,” Mr Hall said.

“I feel pretty privileged, just really happy to help.”

Roadblocks remained in place on Tuesday at the entrance to the Grant Historic Area, about 17 kilometres north of Dargo, as investigators honed in on their search area and tried to keep out prying eyes.

On Monday, campers in four-wheel drives were turned back from the unsealed track into the area, once one of Gippsland’s largest goldfields, after they arrived to find police tape across the entrance.

The secluded location near where police are searching for the bodies of Russell Hill and Carol Clay.Credit:Jason Edwards

Others who spent the weekend camping in the old goldfields area said they were approached by Parks Victoria staff and told there was a police operation commencing in the area.

It’s unclear how long search efforts for Mr Hill and Ms Clay will take, but police said the landscape was challenging as they brought in an all-terrain vehicle on Monday to help them access the area.