Friday, 29 April 2016

A land search.

Hi everyone,

I've had a big couple of days.  It's Friday evening; I spent Wednesday and Thursday on a land search in he hills up near Mansfield.

Maybe you saw it on the news?  I'm sad to say that it didn't have a good result.  As the ABC put it:
The body of missing man Taddeo Haigh has been found within 1 kilometre of where he went missing, police say.
His body was found in dense scrub in difficult terrain near a holiday house at Sawmill Settlement, near Merrijig, where he and his wife were staying over the Anzac day long weekend.
A large-scale search was launched after 31-year-old Mr Haigh, also known as Ted, failed to return from a walk in dense scrub on Sunday.
Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Libby Murray said there were no suspicious circumstances.
"We're working with Ted's family to provide some support. Obviously they're pretty shocked and upset at the moment," she said.
"He was found within a radius of a kilometre of that holiday house. So [it was] not particularly close, but within the search area we'd identified."
Acting Superintendent Murray was asked why the area where he was found had not been previously searched.
"It's pretty thick and rugged terrain through there, so it's one of those areas where we were doing some pretty systematic searching," Acting Superintendent Murray said.
"We did line searching where we had to keep line of sight and keep people pretty close because of how dense it was."
... About 200 people were involved in the search, including the State Emergency Service, Parks Victoria, Victoria Police, the dog squad and the police helicopter.
Acting Superintendent Murray said the searchers had been working very hard to find Mr Haig and were "heartbroken" at not finding him alive.
I don't think I should tell you about the land search itself.  For one thing, the SES isn't keen on members discussing operations on social media.  More seriously, though, it seems wrong to babble on about where we searched, what we ate and so on, when the story ends with the death of somebody's husband and son.  I think that everyone felt something like this when the news came through and all the search teams were called back to the staging area: in the morning, the 200 or so police, SES, CFA and other searchers had been chattering and laughing; in the afternoon as we waited for the debrief, there was a quiet in the air that was more than just sound of fatigue.

Despite the bad outcome, I was incredibly proud of the performance of the SES members.  Crews had come up to help from all over the State to help, some from as far afield as Maffra, Sorrento and Foster.  It was rough terrain to search, and I think we did it well.

Sitting here and writing now, one other thought crosses my mind.  I can't imagine it would be any comfort to his family, at least not now, but Mr Haigh died in a beautiful part of Victoria.  There's never a good time for a young man to die, but if it must happen, I can't think of a better place to go to your eternal rest.

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