There are fears that a body spotted off the coast of Rio de Janeiro could be that of Australian tourist Rye Hunt, who has been missing in South America since May 21.
The body, which was spotted by fishermen near the island of Rasa, eight kilometres from Copacabana Beach, was reportedly wearing clothing similar to Hunt’s.
The discovery was reported to the navy, and Rio Civil Police have since confirmed that a search of the area began on Wednesday, continuing through to Friday, local time.
Police believe that the 25-year-old Tasmanian argued with his travelling companion Mitchell Sheppard, with whom he had allegedly taken MDMA on the day he went missing.
Hunt had been at Rio’s international airport, planning to travel to Bolivia, but instead returned to Copacabana, where he checked in to an apartment while in a “paranoid” state.
The last confirmed sighting of Hunt was on May 22, when a fisherman saw him swimming near the uninhabited Contunduba island. He is said to have been “agitated” and begging for water to drink.
Hunt’s family, including girlfriend of five years Bonnie Cuthbert, are currently in Brazil, but have declined to discuss details of the search with the media.
Cuthbert, however, shared details of the last message she received from Hunt, saying:
“He sent me a message that morning (of May 21), saying he loved me, missed me and would message me when he got to Bolivia. We are here to find Rye. To try and get as much information as we can We are apprehensive and nervous. But we are also hopeful and determined.”
Source: News Corp.