Search continues after ‘sighting’

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 05 April 2015 | 20.01

Luke Shambrook has been missing since Friday morning. Source: Supplied

HELICOPTERS with thermal imaging cameras and dozens of search crews have scoured dense bushland in a search for missing boy Luke Shambrook.

The hunt for the 11-year-old at Lake Eildon will continue tomorrow morning after searchers stopped for the night after 10pm

Emergency services will gather for a meeting at 7.30am on Monday, before resuming the search.

Fresh hope emerged on Sunday after motorists reported seeing a boy matching Luke's description about 5.30pm.

According to the unconfirmed report, the boy seen was crying while sitting on a log off a remote track used by four-wheel-driving enthusiasts, about 20km south of the campsite where he was last seen.

Search crews raced to the location where the boy had been seen, but as the sun set there was still no sign of Luke.

Police speak to family members. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

Relatives have spent three tense days longing to be reunited with their "dear son".

More than 140 volunteers turned out to help find Luke, who has autism, after he went missing at 9.30am on Good Friday at the Devil Cove campground.

Senior Sergeant Ralph Willingham said Luke's parents, Tim and Rachel, had remained hopeful at Candlebark campground.

Sen-Sgt Willingham, himself a grandfather, fought back tears as he read their statement Sunday afternoon: "On this Easter Sunday we are grateful for everyone's compassion and caring. Thank you for the special effort and huge support in trying to locate our son. We just want our dear son Luke found."

Sen-Sgt Willingham said efforts would continue on the same scale today, if needed — the Easter long weekend being fortuitous in having people available to help.

Department of Environment and Primary Industries staff search campsites. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

"The advice I'm getting from our search and rescue experts having regard to the overnight temperatures and the daytime temperatures is that he could well still be out there.

"We've got to be realists but we're positive, the family's positive. We're comfortable that he is still alive. That's what we're working towards, that's what our efforts are focused on.

"Day three is certainly an important day. Tomorrow is going to have a further level of urgency about it."

There were no signs of discarded clothing in Sunday's search.

Sen-Sgt Willingham said while foul play wasn't an active line of inquiry, anything was possible.

State Emergency Service staff search the shallows and Lake Eildon's edge. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

"We're conducting a search for a missing person — that's our focus, but we are turning our mind to other circumstances that may have resulted in his disappearance," he said.

"There is nothing at all to indicate that we need to go down that line; we're ­considering everything we can think of, and our thoughts at this stage is that a young boy has wandered off from the campsite."

All campers in the area were registered but the records were not a priority given the effort was focused on search and rescue, he said.

Park rangers had been searching tents and vehicles, as Luke has a tendency to climb into them because he likes watching DVDs in the car.


SES workers are briefed by regional officer Steve Schneider before resuming their search on Sunday morning. Picture: Stuart Walmsley

Victorian police say a family driving near Devils River saw a boy matching Luke Shambrook's description.

Originally published as Search for Luke to continue at daylight

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