Concern for campers missing in Victorian bushland

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By BRITTANY COLES

The search continues for a man and woman who have not returned from a camping trip that began in Walhalla last Friday.

Warragul Police have been unable to locate Caleb Forbes, 22, from Kilsyth, and Shannon Lowden, 21, from Lilydale, during a wide-spread search of the Baw Baw National Park today.

The pair has been exposed to icy terrain and near-freezing temperatures for almost a week and family and friends are concerned for their wellbeing. 

Mr Forbes and Ms Lowden left their homes to embark on a camping trip around the Thomson Dam, near Walhalla, in West Gippsland. 

They were reported missing on Sunday after Mr Forbes failed to turn up for work. 

Friends of the pair have taken to social media to alert the public of their disappearance. 

A friend of Mr Forbes began a search campaign for the pair on Facebook.

The status made by Jacob McGhee has been shared more than six thousand times since it was posted on Sunday night.

Jacob McGhee posted a Facebook status to rally members of the public to help find the missing pair. Source: Jacob McGhee (Facebook)

“Today saw the air wing and a large scaled search including 4wds and dirt bikes searching all regions stretching from rawson to Aberfeldy. All tracks in area have been searched and failed to find any sign. Tomorrow search is pushing further north towards Woodspoint. Fingers crossed tomorrow brings some news,” Jacob McGhee said in his post on Facebook.

Thousands of Facebook users have commented on Mr McGhee’s status to share their support and interest in joining the search party. 

“Heap of bikes on (the) way up I’m heading back up after work (to) check a couple more spots,” one Facebook user commented on Tuesday afternoon.

Mr McGhee continued to use Facebook to alert potential searchers of the treacherous conditions.

“Police have requested no one come up now it’s to dangerous the cars involved are now registered to (go on) the search and have been approved by the local police and SES,” Mr McGhee wrote in an update to his Facebook post on Tuesday evening. 

Ms Lowden had recently returned from Florida, USA after working at Walt Disney World as part of a cultural exchange program last year. 

A friend and fellow Walt Disney World cast member shared the social media campaign to an international Facebook group with more than 30 thousand members.

Jeanne Haight shared Jacob McGhee’s Facebook status to a worldwide Disney Alumni Facebook group that alerted international friends of Ms Lowden. Source: Jeanne Haight (Facebook)

“If you have friends from Australia still or you are from Australia please share this.”

The social post received plenty of support from well-wishers.

“If Y’all could send good thoughts and prayers and positive hopes for a good outcome,” Jeanne Haight from Arizona said in her Facebook post.

The missing campers are travelling in a green 1994 Nissan Patrol wagon with the registration FQC 467.

The car the pair were last seen travelling in. PHOTO: Victoria Police

The air wing and SES units from Erica, Moe and Morwell are currently assisting police with the search.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.