Richmond Police District Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce speaks to media about the search for missing man Damien Roadley, who disappeared at Blue Knob.
Richmond Police District Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce speaks to media about the search for missing man Damien Roadley, who disappeared at Blue Knob. Liana Turner

'Always hopeful': Search for missing man is 'horrendous'

UPDATE 2.46pm: THE brother of missing man Damien Roadley has thanked those for assisting in a desperate search effort near Nimbin.

Community members and emergency service personnel have been working throughout the day to try to locate Damien Roadley, who has been missing at Blue Knob since last Wednesday night.

He made a distressed phone call about 6.30pm that night after his campfire got out of control, and has not been seen or heard from since.

Mr Roadley's brother, Kim, expressed his gratitude for those involved in searching for the 38-year-old.

"(I'd) just like to thank the community for their support and in particular those that have assisted in trying to locate him," Mr Roadley said.

Richmond Police District Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce said they had remained "always hopeful" Mr Roadley would be found alive, however they hadn't ruled out the possibility he had been fatally injured in the fire.

"It's certainly a possibility that he may have perished," she said.

Insp Bruce said police had checked for any evidence Mr Roadley may have left the mountain, including phone and credit card records, but this reaped no result.

A medical expert was today expected to undertake an assessment of how long Mr Roadley may survive on the mountain.

Inspector Bruce said police had been required to regroup after their initial search which began on Thursday last week.

"We've had to organise far more complex resources and staff to reach more inaccessible areas," Insp Bruce said.

She said two helicopters from Sydney, the dog squad, State Emergency Service and Volunteer Rescue Association had been assisting with their search.

She said the rough terrain had stymied those efforts last week.

"We (last week) conducted a  search of the areas that were accessible with SES, police and Westpac helicopter at that time and we were unable to take it any further," Insp Bruce said.

"Today, we recommenced the search with additional resources attempting to further search the more inaccessible areas, which is vast."

The "extremely difficult terrain" has proved challenging for their team.

"It's vertical in a lot of places, it's heavily overgrown with vegetation and difficult to see a couple of metres in front of you," she said.

"The terrain is very difficult.

"The police that have been up there have said it's 90 degrees a lot of the time, it's overgrown.

"It's horrendous, basically, and I applaud the volunteers that have come to assist us in doing the search.

"It will take us quite some time."

Insp said it was a 90-minute hike to the location of Mr Roadley's campfire and they have been seeking a suitable helicopter landing site.

Insp Bruce said the dog squad was not initially brought into the search last week due to the terrain.

"The dog squad has very limited capabilities due to the terrain as well," she said.

"We've given it a shot today."

While it's understood Mr Roadley is familiar with the area, she said the incident offered a warning to those camping in rural bushland areas.

"It certainly demonstrates how quickly something can go wrong," she said.

 

UPDATE 12.37pm: THE crew from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter has shared photos of the difficult terrain around Blue Knob Mountain where they have begun their aerial search for missing man Damien Roadley.

The crew will use thermal imaging in their aerial surveillance of the area.

They join a team of dedicated locals who have been looking for the Blue Springs man since he was reported missing on Thursday. Local volunteers were joined on the ground by an experienced search and rescue climber from the Blue Mountains.

A search and rescue crew from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter begin an aerial search for Damien Roadley in difficult terrain at Blue Knob Mountain.
A search and rescue crew from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter begin an aerial search for Damien Roadley in difficult terrain at Blue Knob Mountain. Westpac Life Saver Helicopter

Police, police rescue, the dog squad, the State Emergency Service, Tweed District Rescue Squad and Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Squad are all looking for Mr Roadley today.

Police arrive at Blue Springs community to search Blue Knob Mountain for missing man Damien Roadley.
Police arrive at Blue Springs community to search Blue Knob Mountain for missing man Damien Roadley. Contributed Richard Laing

UPDATE 10.42am: RESCUE crews are preparing to scour tough terrain at Blue Knob in search of missing man Damien Roadley.

Northern Rivers man Damien Roadley has been reported missing after he went camping at Blue Knob, near Nimbin.
Northern Rivers man Damien Roadley has been reported missing after he went camping at Blue Knob, near Nimbin.

Tweed District Rescue Squad spokesman Drew Carr said their team had arrived at the Blue Springs community along with Brunswick Volunteer Rescue Squad and the State Emergency Service.

Police yesterday announced they would recommence a search for Mr Roadley, who has been missing since Wednesday last week.

The police arrive at Blue Springs with search dogs to continue the search for Damien Roadley, missing on Blue Knob Mountain for more than a week.
The police arrive at Blue Springs with search dogs to continue the search for Damien Roadley, missing on Blue Knob Mountain for more than a week. Contributed Richard Laing

Mr Carr said they were awaiting a briefing, but had been instructed to bring 120m-long ropes to use in the search.
"The terrain's horrendous," he said.

"We're going to have to carry all of our gear in and out."

With no established track in the search area, Mr Carr said they would require machetes to work their way through the bushland.

This search is taking place alongside a community-driven effort to find Mr Roadley.

 

UPDATE 10.00am: A SPECIALISED search and rescue helicopter will arrive at Blue Knob soon to help in the search for missing man Damien Roadley.

Steve Leahy from Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter said the helicopter was on its way to Lismore from Sydney where the crew will refuel before heading to Blue Knob to join in the search.

Mr Leahy said the helicopter is smaller than the rescue helicopter operating on the Northern Rivers providing ambulance services, allowing it to fly into ravines and gullies and get into tighter spaces.

He said the crew on board the robust helicopter would use thermal imaging cameras in the search and would work with ground crews to search specific locations.

The helicopter will remain in the area for 24 hours, working specifically on this search.

 

Original story: A SEARCH for missing man Damien Roadley will resume this morning.

A police rescue crew and SES volunteers will gather at Blue Knob mountain to search for the Blue Springs man, who was last heard from on Wednesday night last week, when he called family from the top on the mountain to say he was concerned his camp fire had gotten out of control.

Searches to date found Mr Roadley's belongings, but no sign of Mr Roadley.

The search is set to begin at 8am this morning.


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