World

Australian police search for girl, four, missing from outback campsite

SYDNEY: Australian police searching for a four-year-old girl who went missing from an outback campsite said yesterday they would "leave no stone unturned" as they urged members of the public to come forward.

Cleo Smith was last seen in her family's tent at about 1.30am on Saturday at the remote Blowholes Shacks campsite in Macleod, about 900km north of Perth.

When her parents woke at 6.30am, she was gone, police said.

An extensive search began at the weekend and additional forensic personnel arrived from Perth yesterday, alongside police, defence force and community members already scouring the rugged area.

"We are continuing to focus on identifying any leads, we have our best investigators on this, we have the best searchers on this through our (State Emergency Services) and other volunteers," Inspector Jon Munday, assistant district officer for the Mid West-Gascoyne region, told reporters.

Police have given away little information about the investigation and have not said what they believe happened to the girl but released to the public a picture of a sleeping bag that was also missing from the site.

Local media reported that the family had been visiting for a weekend camping trip but were now staying in the remote area.

"Every hour that goes by with a four-year-old out in this environment... is very, very concerning," Insp Munday said. "That is why we do just hold grave fears."

Meanwhile, two people have survived days without water in Australia's hot and dusty outback, police said yesterday, ending a frenzied air and land rescue effort.

Mr Shaun Emitja, 21, and 14-year-old Mahesh Patrick were reported missing last Tuesday in the Harts Range area of central Australia. They had failed to return to the remote community of Hermannsburg after a weekend away.

After their blue Nissan Navara was found abandoned and bogged down in a dirt track, police scoured the countryside using a helicopter and expert trackers.

The pair were feared to be in grave danger given a lack of water and the area's extreme temperatures of more than 40 deg C.

But Northern Territory police said yesterday the two - who had become separated - were found alive and well by an "absolute miracle".It is believed the pair survived without fresh water or provisions. - REUTERS, AFP

WORLD