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Family of Canadian hiker missing in Australia triples reward

06/03/2013 08:44 EDT | Updated 08/03/2013 05:12 EDT
The family of a Canadian man missing in Australia's Snowy Mountains for nearly three weeks has increased the reward for finding him alive from $15,000 to $50,000, as the official search for the former military reservist ended on the weekend.

The new reward offer was posted Monday on a Facebook page devoted to finding Prabhdeep Srawn of Hamilton.

The 25-year-old has been missing since May 13, when he went for a bushwalk at Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales.

The official search for the onetime Canadian military reservist wound up over the weekend. But Srawn's family and supporters still believe he'll be found alive because he had extensive survivor training and hiking experience.

No 'thorough investigation,' cousin says

“There's been so many areas that have not been searched, but the authorities have pulled out without doing a thorough investigation,” Ruby Singh, Srawn's cousin, said to CBC News Network host Michael Serapio on Saturday morning.

“We just want to find him, we just want to bring him home and we're willing to do whatever.”

Srawn was a Canadian Forces reservist from 2005 to 2011, belonging to the 31 Service Battalion's Hamilton Company. His immediate family moved to Brampton, Ont., in 2012 after he left for Australia.

Police began a search for him May 20, but the operation was scaled back earlier this week as officials had determined it was unlikely they would find him alive.

New South Wales police said in an email Thursday that bad weather had hampered Thursday's search.

The search involved a helicopter and nine officers, down from 15 on Wednesday.

The force had said Tuesday the search would only continue for two more days, but continued the operation Friday morning.

'Too little, too late,' NDP critic says

Canada's minister of state for consular affairs says she asked Australian authorities not to scale back the search.

“Canada has been actively working with Australian authorities to discuss the search mission and to convey the family's concerns,” Diane Ablonczy said.

But Helene Laverdiere, NDP critic for consular affairs, told the House of Commons during question period Tuesday that the government was doing “too little, too late,” to find Srawn.

“When his family reached out for help, the government ignored them,” Laverdiere said.

“Mr. Srawn proudly served our country. Now our country should be doing more for him. Why won't the Conservatives listen to the concerns of his family?”

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