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New search for Prabhdeep Srawn, missing hiker from Hamilton, fails

A new search for Prabhdeep Srawn, the former military reservist from Hamilton who disappeared last May while hiking in Australia, hasn't produced any new clues.

Expert B.C. team finds no trace of Srawn, who went missing in Australian mountain park since May

An elite search team from B.C. failed to find any trace of missing Hamilton hiker Prabhdeep Srawn in Australia's mountainous Kosciuszko National Park. (Courtesy Tej Sahota)

A new search for Prabhdeep Srawn, the former military reservist from Hamilton who disappeared last May while hiking in Australia, hasn't produced any new clues.

An elite search team from B.C. spent two weeks in Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, where Srawn was last seen heading out on a hike in the mountainous Hannel's Pass area. The latest search was funded by Srawn's family and led by B.C.'s Martin Colwell, whose company SAR Technology specializes in creating high-tech, math-based approaches to searches.  

The final search team finished its work on Dec. 17 after a gruelling 2-day bush-wack down a major drainage area turned up no clues, Colwell said.

"We have searched all of the originally-designated high probability areas as well as a number of new areas identified while we were searching," Colwell said in an email to CBC Hamilton.

"Unfortunately, we still have not found even one verifiable clue."

Colwell praised his team's efforts. At various points in the 2-week deployment, searchers battled a brief snowstorm (it's currently spring in Australia,) high winds and spent several nights camping on alpine ridges. 

The search team — comprised entirely of volunteers who had their travel costs paid for by the Srawns — comes from an area that sees over 1,000 search and rescue calls in its mountains each year, but Kosciuszko's knee-deep heather and sprawling boulder fields created unique challenges that were "very tiring" for the team, Colwell said. 

He said the Srawn family has been supportive throughout the latest search. The search team is set to fly back to Canada on Wednesday.

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