Flood tragedy: Police confirm search for Katanning father Ajit Khan is now in recovery phase

Headshot of Tom Shanahan
Tom ShanahanGreat Southern Herald
The search for Katanning man Ajit Khan, 34, has become a recovery operation.
Camera IconThe search for Katanning man Ajit Khan, 34, has become a recovery operation.

Police have revealed the search for a Katanning father whose vehicle was found submerged in flood waters has moved into a recovery phase.

Four SES volunteers and a police drone resumed the land search for 34-year-old Ajit Khan at first light this morning, nearly 72 hours after his vehicle was found abandoned on the flooded Ballagin Road in Piesseville.

Great Southern Police Inspector Alex Ryan said weather conditions had deteriorated across the day, making the land search more difficult for emergency crews.

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“We have covered the ground, the water level is rising and the ability for the drone to fly has diminished because of the high winds and weather,” he said.

“We are looking to try and find Ajit Khan as soon as we can and our efforts over the next period are going to be around trying to locate him.

“We are still hopeful he could be alive, but that looks fairly remote at this time.”

Ajit Khan's vehicle was removed on Wednesday.
Camera IconAjit Khan's vehicle was removed on Wednesday. Credit: Tom Shanahan/Tom Shanahan

Mr Khan was reported missing about 11.30am on Tuesday after his green Mitsubishi Triton ute was stranded in flood waters east of Wagin, where the Buchanan River overflowed.

Since then, police divers, a police helicopter, a police drone, police horses, two flood boats, SES volunteers and local farmers have been part of a search for the missing father of three.

A police family liaison officer has spent the week with Ajit Khan’s family in Katanning, keeping them up-to-date on the search.

Ten members of the family were invited to the scene by police on Thursday morning.

Rain is expected to ease around Wagin over the weekend.

Emergency services on Ballagin Road.
Camera IconEmergency services on Ballagin Road. Credit: Tom Shanahan

Police will hold a briefing on Saturday morning with plans to resume the search at first light.

“We will maintain our police forward command overnight and will resume searching in the daylight hours,” Insp. Ryan said.

“We continue to search until we can can find Ajit Khan — that is our mission.”

Police have asked for nearby farmers to search their properties in case Mr Khan managed to make it onto land.

Anyone who might have picked up Mr Khan or seen him in the area is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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