Hugo Palmer missing: British man and French companion vanish as belongings found on popular Australia beach

Water conditions were 'terrible' at time friends disappeared, police inspector says

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 19 February 2019 11:41
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Police in Australia are searching for British tourist Hugo Palmer (right) and his French companion Erwan Ferrieux (left), both 20, after they disappeared from Shelly beach, near Port Macquarie, north of Sydney.
Police in Australia are searching for British tourist Hugo Palmer (right) and his French companion Erwan Ferrieux (left), both 20, after they disappeared from Shelly beach, near Port Macquarie, north of Sydney.

Police are searching for a young British tourist and his French companion after they vanished from a beach in Australia.

Personal items belonging to backpackers Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux, both 20, were discovered by walkers on Shelly Beach, near Port Macquarie, north of Sydney, on Monday morning.

Their rental car, a silver Commodore station wagon, was found nearby in the popular beach’s car park.

Further personal belongings, including travel documents, were found in the vehicle.

Police and emergency services have been searching water and land for the pair since Monday but there has been no sign of them.

The two men are believed to have arrived in the area on Sunday.

New South Wales Police Inspector Michael Aldridge told Port Macquarie News that the conditions in the water had been “terrible”.

Shelly beach near Port Macquarie, north of Sydney, in Australia 

He said the chances of surviving in the water since Sunday were slim.

Detectives are now appealing to anyone who may have seen the two men or their rental car near the beach or surrounding streets to get in touch.

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Hugo Palmer, who is understood to be from East Sussex, is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with fair hair, about 5ft 9ins tall and of athletic build.

Erwan Ferrieux has dark hair, brown eyes, a tanned complexion, and is between about 5ft 7ins and 5ft 9ins tall.

Police did not disclose how long Mr Palmer and Mr Ferrieux had been in Australia.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "Our staff are in contact with police in Australia and the UK following reports of a missing British man at Shelly beach, New South Wales."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crimestoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or visiting https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

New South Wales Police reminded the public not to report crime via its social media pages.

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