UK & World News
Gary Tweddle: Body Recovered In Oz Bushland
Police believe a body that has been recovered from Australian bushland may be that of a British man who went missing seven weeks ago.
Gary Tweddle, 23, has not been seen since he disappeared after a work dinner during a conference in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney.
Police said a body thought to be Mr Tweddle was spotted by an ambulance rescue helicopter during a training exercise near Leura on Monday.
Police abseiled about 25m down a cliff face to the site on Tuesday, and the body was winched to the top of the cliff about 4pm local time (7am BST).
Superintendent Darryl Jobson said that the man was similar in appearance to Mr Tweddle, but it could take a number of days to formally identify the body.
"What we need to do is go through our formal identification processes to make sure we identify the right male and making sure that we're notifying the right next of kin," he said.
"At an appropriate time we'll be able to convey to you to the identity of the male."
He said police will examine the area where the body was found, which will help determine the cause of death.
"It would appear to be misadventure but we're not ruling anything out," he said.
Joanne Elliott, a spokeswoman for Blue Mountains Local Area Command, said the "extremely rough terrain" meant police rescue officers were not able to retrieve the body on Monday.
"The location couldn't be accessed on foot and the crew lost all light in the mountains so we're unable to get down to the ground," she said.
Mr Tweddle, who had emigrated to Australia, was last heard from when he rang colleagues also staying at the Fairmont Resort in Leura in the early hours of July 17 to say he was lost in the bushland.
As the recovery operation started, Mr Tweddle's girlfriend told friends and family that "the sun is beginning to rise on a day that we have all been hoping would never come".
Anika Haigh wrote on her Facebook page: "A body has been found in the area of Gary's disappearance and today it will be retrieved and identified.
"Please know that nothing has been confirmed at this stage but I hope in a few hours we will have an answer either way.
"One thing I know for certain is that Gary will... come home one day - his fight, determination & 'never give up' attitude that we all loved so much about him will guide him."
She added that it was time for him "to come home where you belong".
The disappearance of Mr Tweddle, a computer salesman originally from Reading, sparked the biggest search ever conducted in the Blue Mountains.
His father David flew out to Australia from his home in Berkshire to help with the search effort before he returned to the UK last month.
Mr Tweddle's mother Carol Streatfield, who also lives in Australia, had also flown to the Blue Mountains to join the search for her son.
She said the phone call from Ms Haigh telling her that her son was missing was the first step in the most "heart-breaking journey" of her life.
In a statement issued by the Foreign Office last month, she said: "On the mountain my days were filled with sirens, noise, searching, tireless walking and door knocking. I repeatedly followed the track I believed he had taken in the hopes of finding a clue.
"Every pole and tree were covered with his beautiful face, however it was on a piece of A4 paper with a 'missing' heading.
"At one point I was so exhausted I found a bench to sit on in the middle of a bush track, and as I sat down and there to the left of me was Gary's photo.
"It was a small comfort as I stroked his face, kissed him and told him how much I loved him and that I will never give up trying to find him, ever."