A man standing next to a car holding a large fish by the tail. Trevor McDonald has been identified as the prospector missing from Meekatharra.

83yo prospector missing in Meekatharra WA, search underway

ABC Midwest & Wheatbelt

A land and air search is underway for an 83-year-old prospector in Meekatharra, in West Australia's Gascoyne.

Trevor McDonald's wife raised the alarm on Saturday afternoon after he failed to return to their caravan as planned. 

The pair had been prospecting in different locations at about 2:00pm and had agreed to meet back at the van two hours later.

When Mr McDonald failed to arrive the woman contacted a nearby station homestead which helped with a short search before police were notified. 

Inspector Dave Hooper from Mid West Gascoyne Police says there are serious concerns for Mr McDonald. 

"Mr McDonald does have a heart condition so, because of his age and that medical condition, we have significant concerns for his welfare," he said. 

"Unfortunately, Mr McDonald didn't have any food or water with him, or any communications devices, but he thought he was on a short walk."

Inspector Hooper said weather temperatures in the area had been moderate but the landscape was harsh.

"There are creek lines and tracks in the area," he said.

"It is sparsely vegetated with trees that are around eight feet (2.5 metres) high.

"Some of them are clumped closely together and some of them are less clumped together.

"If Mr McDonald has had some fall or medical episode he may be on the ground under a tree [and] because of the colour of clothes he's wearing he'd be quite difficult to see."

Inspector Hooper said there had been some light drizzle.

"So these are conditions which are encouraging for survival, so we are hoping that there may be some water on the ground as well," he said.

"But the amount of rain that's been in Meekatharra recently hasn't been sufficient to pool water.

"But certainly the temperature ranges and the lack of wind are in our favour."

Aerial and land search 

A search plane with police spotters on board as well as two drones are involved in the aerial search.  

Police from Geraldton, Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra, together with Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the State Emergency Service, local volunteers and mine staff are conducting the land search. 

"Obviously, you have station hands and station managers who are intimately familiar with the land, so we have a number of those people assisting us,"  Inspector Hooper said.

Mr McDonald was last seen wearing a green and black chequered flannel shirt and black jeans. 

He may also have on a brown jumper. 

The area the couple were prospecting in was about 50 kilometres from the Meekatharra townsite and 5km south of the Bluebird Mine. 


Search called off for Trevor McDonald, 83, who is missing in WA's Gascoyne

ABC Midwest & Wheatbelt
By Michelle Stanley

The search for a missing 83-year-old man in remote Western Australia has been suspended by police.

Trevor McDonald had been prospecting last Saturday near Meekatharra in the state's Gascoyne.

His wife raised the alarm when he failed to return to their caravan as planned that afternoon.

On Friday morning, police said a decision had been made to suspend the search "pending further information being received".

Drones, a plane, all-terrain vehicles, police and SES volunteers assisted with the six-day search.

Earlier this week, Inspector Dave Hooper from Midwest Gascoyne Police said there were serious concerns for Mr McDonald, who had a heart condition.

"Because of his age and that medical condition, we have significant concerns for his welfare," Inspector Hooper said.

"Unfortunately, Mr McDonald didn't have any food or water with him or any communication devices, but he thought he was on a short walk." 

In a statement, WA Police thanked those who helped with the search efforts over several days over challenging terrain.