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2013 News Releases




WICEN activation in Blue Mountains West of Sydney

Date : 24 / 07 / 2013
Author : Compton Allen - VK2HRX

As many of you would be aware there has been an ongoing and prolonged search in the Blue Mountains West of Sydney for a missing person from the Fairmont resort near Leura. The search is now entering its 7th day and this has been reported as one of the largest searches undertaken by NSW Police rescue.

WICEN has been providing communications support for the BWRS ( ) who are being tasked into the difficult to access areas within the search area. These include canyons and cliffs which are being search by repetitive abseiling. WICEN has been on site since Sat and has contributed well over 250 hours so far of operational time. Steven Heimann, VK2BOS is the WICEN commander. 5-6 WICEN operators are involved each day and we are setting up radio points that can look into the areas the BWRS are operating in so that comms with BWRS and the command post at the Fairmont resort are maintained. WICEN has a radio point at Sublime Point which is logging the radio traffic between the search teams and the command post utilising relays as needed from the 3-4 WICEN radio points in use.

WICEN has been variously operating on the following; 5 MHz, 78 MHz, 160 MHz, 470MHz, 2M amateur, 70cm amateur. Thanks go to BMARC for the use of their Lawson 2M repeater which has been used by operators as they travel to and from the site.

A WICEN team is again in the search area today, Tues, and we are planning to be there again tomorrow Wed if required. If you are available on Wed then please reply to the previous messages sent out.

If you have been involved to date, thank you and thanks also to the many generous employers who have allowed WICEN members time off to assist.

There are many news items on this search in the media. The following one from the ABC is a typical one accessible via this Link

Police Rescue have released a number of posts on their Face book site that are worth a read.

Blue Mountains Police Rescue
Search Update (2130 hrs 21/7/2013) for Missing Man Gary Tweddle – Leura, Blue Mountains.
Search to be continued 22/7/2013.
The search for Missing Person Garry Tweddle continued in the Leura and surrounding areas on its sixth day (21/7).
Gary Tweddle, 23, was last seen leaving the Fairmont Resort at Leura in the early hours of Tuesday 16 July. Gary has not been heard from or seen since and his mobile phone is now either switched off or out of battery. Police hold extreme concerns for the wellbeing of Gary.

Police from Blue Mountains Local Area Command have coordinated a major search for him over the past six days (inclusive of today) which has centred on both bushland near where he was last seen, and the adjoining residential suburb of south Leura / south Wentworth Falls and adjacent bushland areas south of the Great Western Highway. Over the past 120 hours, searching in the Leura & Wentworth Falls residential areas has continued. Ongoing searching of bushland on/adjacent to the Sublime Point land feature has continued to north, east, south and west. This area was further expanded today (21/7).

Today’s search involved over 200 volunteer representatives from SES, RFS, Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue, Police and others. Polair was again involved in a part of today’s search activities as of 1430 hrs.

Everyone involved in the search safely exited the bush area without incident or injury. Support agencies have continued to provide significant support structures to allow for the command and control of the search process.

Again, it is timely and really important to THANK all the VOLUNTEERS (and their families/workplaces) that have allowed them to assist over the past 4 to 6 days. Many volunteers will be returning to their substantive employment on 22/7 after being absent for multiple days – both Police and Gary’s family and friends THANK YOU for your time, effort and commitment (to date).
Thanks also to your families, employers and respective agency for allowing you to assist.

The search will continue on Monday 22/7/2013, with a reduced number of searchers (reasons outlined in previous paragraph) – the search is continuing and the majority of areas to be searched on Monday will involve remote access or be on/below cliff lines and require vertical rope access. Specialist searchers from Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue & Police Rescue will be involved in these challenging areas. Other volunteers will continue to search nominated areas in/about the area.

It will continue to be coordinated from a Command Post in the carpark area of Fairmont Resort.

As per previous appeals, Police wish to speak wiith anyone who thinks they may have seen Gary, as it will allow both the Search and Investigation into his currently being reported missing to further progress.

Anyone with any urgent information should contact Triple Zero (000), or for non urgent matters Katoomba Police Station on 47 828 199. We thank you (the community) for your assistance to date, and trust that this will continue during the ongoing search. Information received is reviewed and investigated.

Gary is described as being of Caucasian appearance, 165 - 170 cm tall, medium build, brown eyes with short brown hair. At the time of his disappearance he was wearing blue jeans, black jacket and checked shirt.

Volunteer searchers are again reminded that if they choose to search bushland or residential areas (ie but are not part of the official Police coordinated search), they must ensure that they have the capability, capacity and are equipped and have appropriate skills to carry out their proposed activities. This advice is based on ensuring that all available staff and resources are involved in the search for Gary, and not responding to other potentially avoidable (but probably well intentioned) incidents.

We aim to keep the involved staff and resources focused on the search for Gary which is our collective priority.

It is anticipated that Monday ( 22/7) will again be cool to cold in temperature – projected temperature range of 1 to 9 degrees, with moderate winds but sunshine.

Currently the temperature is 2 degrees, but wind chill means it feels like -4. Remember to wear those additional layers, and don’t forget your beanie or headwear to stay warm.

Finally, please ensure any comments are appropriate in the circumstances – we have and will monitor and delete inappropriate content, or that which isn’t appropriate at this time – Gary’s family, friends and work colleagues appreciate your well intentioned messages.

Blue Mountains Police Rescue
Garry Tweddle Search update Day 8 (2215hrs) Searching continued today with approximately 60 searchers in the field plus support staff. Teams continued to examine areas on the south side of the Highway including the deployment of Vertical access teams from Police Rescue, and Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad, along the escarpment.

Remote access teams were also deployed under the cliff line and searched along the edge of the Valley. Numerous resources were also deployed to the North of the Highway where further canvassing is being conducted. Searchers will tomorrow again be on the North side of the Highway searching properties and bushland. Please provide every assistance to our teams. A Forward Command base will be established on Sinclair Cres Wentworth Falls in support of North Sector resources.

Members of the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service and W.I.C.E.N were also involved.

Our thanks are again extended to our volunteer agencies for their untiring efforts. It is expected that in excess of 70 personnel will again be out conducting searches tomorrow (Tuesday 23/7/2013) The photos show some of our search teams in the field


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