Bones to be tested in search for East Sussex tourist missing in Australia

Bones discovered at an Australian beach are to be tested to see if they belong to a missing East Sussex tourist after remains of his French companion were found, national media reports.

Hugo Palmer, 20, understood to come from Forest Row, went missing in Australia in February, after visiting a popular beach on the east coast with his French companion Erwan Ferrieux, 21.

Shelly Beach, north of Sydney

Shelly Beach, north of Sydney

The BBC reported on Monday (July 15), that bones which had been recovered from the sea matched Mr Ferrieux’s DNA.

It said police had discovered one more bone at a separate beach on Sunday (July 14), which is to undergo forensic testing in the coming weeks to determine whether it was from either of the missing backpackers.

A desperate search was launched for the pair, who were believed to be swimming at Shelly Beach, near Port Macquarie, on Sunday (February 17).

Property belonging to the two men was found at the beach by walkers at around 6.30am the following morning.

Police later discovered their rental vehicle in the beach’s car park, together with a number of personal items including travel documents.

At the time, New South Wales Police said a sea and land search had been launched but there had been no sign of the pair and surf conditions were ‘terrible’.

Authorities believed the pair, reported to have been travelling in Australia since November last year, may have drowned while swimming at a beach, the BBC said.

An air and sea search was conducted in February, but no trace of either man was found until spear fishermen discovered the three bones at neighbouring Flynns Beach last month, said the BBC.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “Our staff remain in contact with police in Australia regarding a British man who went missing in Shelley Beach, Australia earlier this year.”

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