Search for Katanning father Ajit Khan to stretch into fourth day as police maintain hope of finding him alive
Emergency services are holding out hope in the search for a Katanning father whose vehicle was found submerged in flood waters east of Wagin on Tuesday.
Police plan to expand the search as it stretches into its fourth day tomorrow despite the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting more rain and a possible thunderstorm.
Ajit Khan, 34, was reported missing about 11.30am on Tuesday after his green Mitsubishi Triton ute was stranded in flood waters on Ballagin Road in Piesseville.
A land search was ramped up on Wednesday morning, with police divers, two vessels, a police drone, a helicopter and State Emergency Services volunteers joining the search for Mr Khan.
Today, four mounted police officers joined other emergency responders near the Buchanan River.
A local farmer has been helping police by sharing his knowledge of the lay of the land.
Great Southern Superintendent Kim Travers said emergency services had been able to access new areas of land, including the north bank, for the first time today.
“Water levels have dropped considerably since yesterday so that will work in our favour, if the front doesn’t bring rain,” Supt Travers said.
“We will have to go over ground again because we now have better access as the water lowers.”
However Supt Travers said weather conditions remained a challenge for emergency services.
More rain is forecast for the Wagin area for the rest of the week, with a severe weather warning active for the region on Thursday and Friday morning.
“When the mounted police were searching the north bank...they couldn’t see where the paddock starts and the river starts because there is a lot of water,” she said.
“They are big horses, they where belly up in mud and debris this morning, so now they are more using the dirt tracks.
“The riders are very competent they have done lots of searches.”
Supt Travers said 10 members from Mr Khan’s family were invited to the scene by police earlier this morning.
“They are very appreciative of every resource that has gone into this and every effort from every person involved,” she said.
“They have just asked us to keep looking for Ajit Khan.”
The search has been suspended for the night.
Police will hold a briefing at 6am with plans to resume the search at first light.
Supt Travers said they still remained hopeful of finding the Katanning man alive.
“We still maintain hope, we have been too surprised too many times in our searches to lose hope this soon,” Supt Travers said.
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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