The police are resuming their search for Damien Roadley today following pressure from family, local community and the media.
‘Our intention is to have trained professionals doing the search,’ said family friend Sam Dowsett.
‘While they (the police) weren’t doing it we have been doing our best effort. The community has been putting together an ad hoc search but it is very dense and difficult terrain to search, you could walk past someone who is just three meters away and not see them.’
The local community has been trying to work with the police to share information about where they have searched but feel they’ve been let down. Police concerns over liability for people searching has meant that they feel restricted in how effectively they can coordinate with the community.
‘I had arranged to receive a map from the inspector in charge of the search last night so that we knew what areas they had already covered and so we could cooperate on maps,’ said Sam. However, the police then didn’t supply the map and have also not supplied information on a half burnt stick that could have been used as a torch that was located on the of the mountain.
‘We had been hoping that the climber who has come up from Sydney could get straight into the search this morning but the police didn’t supply the informatio nthey said they would.
‘Our intention is to cooperate fully with the police in the most efficient fashion. All the front line guys have been incredible.’ However, Sam has criticised the organisation and management of the departments running the case has.
Police stated yesterday that they would be recommencing the search this morning at 8am. Police have contacted Sam and told him that they would now be commencing the search at 10am this morning.
Friends and family of Nimbin man Damien Roadley who has been missing since Wednesday August 1 on Blue Knob Mountain, near Nimbin have criticised police efforts to find him.
A police statement yesterday confirmed that ‘A two-day search was conducted in the area with assistance from the police rescue unit, dog unit, Westpac helicopter, Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service.’
However, family and friends said this statement overplays the resources directed towards the search pointing out that no dogs have been deployed yet and that they have been told the police ‘will have dogs there “at the end of the week, or early next week”’.
‘His friends, the family and the community at large are sorely disappointed in the lack of response and assistance from the authorities in the search,’ said his friend Shae Hall.
‘We believe that the authorities have taken the stance that the odds were against his favour of survival, and as such withdrew their active search a mere two days after his disappearance. Although its conceded that those odds against are now increasing every day that he is unaccounted for, to make such an assumption a mere couple of days after his disappearance seems unbelievable to his friends and family. Even if the probability of survival is low, the mere possibility should elicit a large search effort from the professionals as it has from individuals within his community.’
Friends and family are pleading with the authorities to ‘redeploy a contingent of skilled personnel to assist the community’ in the search for Damien.
‘Police have been claiming lack of resources, we would like to know what their search and rescue resources are tied up on that takes priority over a young man’s life? He is a well loved community member, doting father of three young children, and his family and friends desperately want to see his safe return.
‘Although there are many eager locals helping in the efforts, risking their own lives, given the dangers involved the task should be handled by the professionals who are trained in such endeavours, and who are properly equipped,’ said Shae.
Climber currently on his way
Due to the rough terrain that the search has to cover the Nimbin community has now organised a professional climber to join the search. The climber left the Blue Mountains this morning at 4am and will be on the ground tomorrow to assist in the efforts ‘but more professionals are desperately needed,’ said Shae.