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Australian missing in Zimbabwe 'not seen for nine days'

Staff WritersAP
Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls national park attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconZimbabwe's Victoria Falls national park attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

An Australian tourist reported missing late last week in Zimbabwe near Victoria Falls already had been missing for nearly a week before that, according to new information released by national park officials.

The 67-year-old tourist, whose name has not been released, was reported missing on Friday in the area near the Zimbabwe Victoria Falls National Park, and officials said at the time that a search with sniffer dogs was underway.

Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said on Monday that the missing tourist was a man, and that he had last been heard from on February 17.

The tourist, who was travelling alone, was staying at a luxury lodge about 3km from the rainforest park.

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He told the lodge management on February 17 that he was heading into the park, Farawo said.

However, the man was not seen entering the park on CCTV footage reviewed later, nor was he among those recorded as entering the park, as normally is done for accountability and security purposes, Farawo said.

"We have replayed the CCTV footage, physical records at the entrance of the falls have no record of him entering and our search team has been checking the rainforest. There is no sign of him, Farawo said.

"We are looking at other leads because it seems he never entered the rainforest," he said.

Farawo did not disclose any other details, saying investigations are still underway.

Such incidences are rare in Victoria Falls, a destination that attracts thousands of tourists from across the globe for its majestic water curtain that tumbles down more than 108 metres from the mighty Zambezi River to a gorge below, sending up a mist visible from kilometres away.

The parks agency deployed a team that included the police and rangers with sniffer dogs, professional ground trackers and drones to track the Australian tourist on Friday, said Farawo.

A few cases have been recorded in other parks.

A German tourist reported missing last October in Matusadona National Park, which teems with wild animals in northern Zimbabwe, was found alive and in good health three days later.

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