GRAVE concerns are held for the safety of an Australian man reported missing at a popular ski resort on Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido.
Scott McKay, 27, an IT business owner from Brisbane, has been missing for three days, since leaving a bar while holidaying at Niseko ski resort.
Mr McKay is said to have been partying with friends at night time hotspot Wild Bill’s, until he was last seen leaving the bar by himself about 1.30am Friday.
Worries arose when Mr McKay did not return home, after his friends followed the same route home only 15 minutes later.
Full-scale searches of the area have been conducted by police and residents, who have pulled together and worked side-by-side in an attempt to locate Mr McKay.
‘Missing person’ posters have also been circulated heavily throughout Niseko.
Concerns are that Mr McKay may have fallen over unconscious in deep snow.
There has been heavy snow and strong winds for several days in Niseko since the time Mr McKay went missing.
People have been known to fall asleep in the snow late at night after leaving local bars in Niseko, although so far there have been no fatalities.
Mr McKay is said to have been holidaying with a group of about 10 friends, and was staying at accommodation in the area of St Moritz, near the Gentem Cafè, about a 10 to 15-minute walk from the Hirafu bar he was last seen.
Relatives of Mr McKay are believed to be flying in from Australia and arriving in Niseko tonight at 11pm.
More comprehensive searches with search dogs are expected to begin, however delays are expected due to the lack of trained dogs in Hokkaido.
Authorities have said helicopters may also be used to help locate Mr McKay, once his father has arrived and signed off on an official search.
– Powderlife would like to stress that people who intend to go out drinking should make plans at the start of the evening to go home with friends.