LOOK OUT: locals took the search one step further scaling the Cape Byron Lighthouse by abseiling down the cliff to extend the search.
LOOK OUT: locals took the search one step further scaling the Cape Byron Lighthouse by abseiling down the cliff to extend the search. Amber Gibson

Locals pitch in to help search for Belgian tourist

THE father and other family members of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez have arrived in Byron Bay and will continue the search for the 18-year-old last seen 17 days ago.

"Tweed/Byron Police are utilising all resources available in conducting the search for Mr Hayez, including the use of plain clothed officers and the NSW Police Dog Unit,” a NSW Police spokesperson said on Saturday.

To help police, locals have gone to extraordinary lengths for Mr Hayez, organising community-led search parties, donating food and supplies to his family, showing support through social media, and campaigning to raise funds for Mr Hayez's GOFUNDME page that has reached €37,840.

On Saturday, Nicoletta Revis created a poster that was shared among hundreds of members of the Byron Bay community Facebook page in order to distribute flyers around the town.

Yesterday, locals Phil Biggar, Christos Tsesmetzis and Nick Love took the search one step further and gained approval to scale the Cape Byron Lighthouse and abseil down the cliff to extend the search.

"I had been following Christos's Facebook posts over the last two weeks and one of the guys said 'would abseiling help to cover this area' and because I have done a lot of abseiling we got together and we are just trying to cover it,” Mr Biggar said.

Mr Love, from Murwillumbah descended the cliff at 11.30am, searching until the area was covered.

Police received an official missing persons report about Mr Hayez on June 6 and have e used multiple emergency services, community help and drone technology to search for him.

"Detectives are looking into all available information that is provided to us with respect to Theo's disappearance, including reviewing available CCTV footage,” they said.

Mr Hayez was last seen outside Cheeky Monkey's Restaurant and Bar. The search will continue today.


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