Weather hampers Bluff Knoll rescue
Weather hampers Bluff Knoll rescue

Bad weather and lack of light have forced a ground rescue team to abandon efforts to reach a bushwalker stranded on Bluff Knoll with a police officer.

Police say it is not safe for the State Emergency Service volunteers or Department of Parks and Wildlife ranger to continue and they have returned to a command post.

The rescue operation began about 3pm yesterday after an EPIRB was activated by the man in the Stirling Ranges National Park.

The Leederville man had become disoriented and did not have any food or water with him.

The RAC Rescue Helicopter was sent to the scene, but due to the weather conditions were unable to reach the man.

A police helicopter was then sent to the scene and a police officer was lowered to the ground.

The officer located the man and has stayed with him.

Late this afternoon the search team was able to hear what they believed were the bushwalker and police officer, but because of the terrain they were not able to make a path to them.

The SES volunteers will head back out to continue the search from 6am tomorrow.

The police helicopter is on standby at the Albany Airport waiting for the weather conditions to improve enough for them to fly.

If they are able to fly tonight they will either rescue the pair using a winch or, if that is not possible, they will drop a care package which includes items to assist with shelter, clothing, food and water.

DAMAGING WINDS FORECAST

Earlier today, Albany Police Sergeant Nathan Parkey said the SES team had been hiking for four hours and it was expected to take another four hours for them to return with the missing teen and police officer.

Sgt Parkey said the missing teen was well prepared and encouraged anyone going hiking to carry an EPIRB.

He said the teenager left on his hike yesterday morning and had travelled “a fair distance” before becoming disorientated on one of the peaks near Bluff Knoll.

The West Australian

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