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Confronting photos emerge amid search for missing hiker

Near-freezing conditions in Tasmania have added another layer of difficulty for search crews in the desperate race against time to find a missing Victorian hiker.

Shocking photos shared by Tasmania Police have given insight into the challenge they are facing, with officers pictured in thigh-deep snow and a search boat covered in ice.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was also shown sinking into thick snow, while a police vehicle was seen completely blanketed in a layer of ice.

Michael Bowman, 57, was expected to finish a walk at Lake St Clair visitor centre in the state's Central Highlands on Saturday, but failed to show up.

Photo of three officers battling their way through waist-deep snow in Tasmania.
Three officers shown battling their way through waist-deep snow. Source: Facebook/Tasmania Police

As three search teams continue their search for the experienced bushwalker, they are battling against dangerous weather conditions, police said.

An air, ground and water search for Mr Bowman continued on Tuesday morning, while police also raised concerns for an adult and two youths believed to be near Lake Pedder in the state's rugged southwest.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter returned back to its base after being diverted from the search Monday morning due to the dangerous weather.

Police said it would be despatched once again when conditions improved.

Acting Inspector Phil Curtis urged the public to reconsider embarking on exhibitions in current conditions.

Photo of Victorian man Michael Bowman who is missing in Tasmania's Cradle Mountain National Park.
Victorian man Michael Bowman is missing in Tasmania's Cradle Mountain National Park. Source: AAP
Photo of a police vehicle covered in ice, and officers taking on the snow in a dinghy in Tasmania.
A police vehicle covered in ice, and officers taking on the snow in a dinghy. Source: Facebook/Tasmania Police

“This reinforces the current dangerous conditions in some parts of the state at the moment and members of the public should consider their need to travel into these areas affected by the bad weather at the moment,” he said in the post.

Meanwhile, a Western Australia father and his daughter will be rescued by helicopter from Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park after getting into difficulty during blizzard-like weather at the weekend.

"It has not been fun, but I've also relied on the fact that he has done this sort of stuff before," the man's partner Tracey Koziniec told the ABC.

"He's basically carrying out his plan for when things go bad, and he's putting it into effect.

Photo of officers making their way through deep snow, and a dinghy filled with ice in Tasmania.
Officers pictured making their way through deep snow, and a dinghy filled with ice. Source: Facebook/Tasmanian Police

"They're still healthy, they're tired and smelly, but they're not in danger."

Every hut on the popular Overland Track will be checked by helicopter for bushwalkers who may be in trouble.

About 30 people are understood to be hiking in the region, including a Hobart school group of 10, who are reportedly safe and intending to return on Tuesday.

Mr Bowman, an experienced bushwalker from Melbourne's east, last contacted family about a week ago and hasn't activated his emergency beacon.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Matthew Thomas told AAP he has serious concerns for any person left out in the cold.

"Cold temperatures and strong winds increase the risk of hypothermia," he said of overnight conditions.

Photo of the Westpac Rescue helicopter sinking into the snow during a Tasmanian search mission.
The Westpac Rescue helicopter was seen sinking into the snow. Source: Facebook/Tasmania Police

Police believe Mr Bowman set-up camp in a sheltered area to do day walks in the Mt Cuvier region before he became stuck in bad weather.

The temperature at Lake St Clair dropped to a low of 2C overnight, with strong winds and rain expected to wash away the weekend's dump of snow.

Several bushwalkers had to be rescued on Monday, including a Brisbane man aged in his 40s from the north-west end of Lake St Clair.

Another two NSW hikers were plucked from the Walls of Jerusalem National Park to the south earlier in the day.

People are being urged not to go bushwalking unless they are well-prepared for freezing weather.

With AAP

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