B.C. search team heading to Australia for missing Indo-Canadian man

Published: November 27, 2013
India Canada Brampton Ontario

Prabhdeep Srawn, a 25-year-old Brampton, Ont., man hasn’t been heard from since parking his rental car May 13 in the village of Charlotte Pass.THE CANADIAN PRESS

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

The expertise of a B.C. search and rescue crew has been called upon to help in the search for an Ontario man who went missing six months ago while hiking an Australian mountain.

Search manager of Vancouver-based SAR Technology, Martin Colwell, is headed to New South Wales, Australia on Wednesday, with the rest of his 18-member search and rescue crew — selected from across B.C. — leaving this weekend to help in the search for 25-year-old Brampton man, Prabhdeep Srawn.

Srawn was last seen parking his rented vehicle May 13 at Charlotte Pass Village, about 200 kilometres southwest of Canberra, before he entered Kosciuszko National Park. Authorities in New South Wales abandoned the search for Srawn June 1 due to heavy snowfall, but it was picked up again on Monday.

According to Colwell, his team was suggested to Srawn’s family by a U.S. contact and although they’ve never conducted a search in Australia before, he has full confidence in the crew.

“B.C. gets so many searches — we get about 1,000 searches a year,” he told Vancouver Desi on Tuesday. “In B.C. we have a very good government-trained system for search and rescue personnel here, so really we have a lot of very experienced people.”

And while it will be unfamiliar territory, it’s something SAR Technology can “certainly handle,” added Colwell.

“The terrain isn’t quite as challenging as some of our West Coast areas,” he said, adding that although the bushes may be thicker, the mountain ranges are not as high or steep. “Team members should be quite comfortable in that terrain.”

Colwell and his team have put in “lots of preparation” over the past month.

“We have a fairly good body of information that’s been provided (by previous search and rescue teams),” he said. “We’ve had to do a lot of setting up, maps, planning scenarios, tracking equipment, communications, safety, camping gear — basically the logistics of moving a lot of people into quite a remote area.”

According to the Facebook page, “Help, Find Prabh Srawn — Missing Bushwalker,” the 25-year-old had been in Australia for two years studying law at Bond University. He had plans to return to Canada in the near future. He’s also an experienced hiker and a master corporal in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Once SAR Technology’s crew arrives they’ll spend two weeks on the ground searching for Srawn.

“We’re just doing what we can to hopefully bring some closure to the family,” said Colwell.

lcahute@vancouverdesi.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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