Police in Australia say DNA testing has identified the remains of missing French backpacker Erwan Ferrieux. Fears were raised after his rental car was found abandoned near a popular surf beach in February.
Human bones found off Australia's east coast appear to belong to a 21-year-old French backpacker who went missing five months ago, police said Monday.
Erwan Ferrieux was last seen with British tourist Hugo Palmer, 20, on February 17 near Port Macquarie, about 385 kilometers (240 miles) north of Sydney.
Concerns about the travelers' fate were raised after their rental car was found unattended at a popular surfing spot, sparking a five-day police search.
DNA testing confirms fears
Last month, fishermen found three human bones in waters near to where the backpackers had parked their car. Police said preliminary forensic tests showed the remains came from a male person.
"We believe from the DNA comparisons that they belong to Erwan Ferrieux," Superintendent Paul Fehon told reporters in Port Macquarie.
He added that another small bone found in the same area on Sunday was also undergoing forensic analysis to see whether it belonged to either of the missing men. All of the remains are expected to undergo further DNA testing.
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According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Ferrieux and Palmer had been traveling in Australia since November. A vigil was held for them in late February after authorities called off their search.
Authorities are also looking for another young tourist, 18-year-old Theo Hayez from Belgium, who was last seen more than a month ago in Byron Bay, a beach town 765 kilometers north of Sydney.
nm/rc (AFP, Reuters)