Missing Aussie was on a journey of self-discovery

PETALING JAYA - The Australian tourist who went missing in the Mulu National Park had written in his blog that his main travel goals were to have "genuine cultural ex­periences with local people outside of the mainstream tourist attractions and to climb a lot of mountains".

In an article on the ABC News website, Andrew Gaskell, 25, had said that starting in August, he "would be embarking on a journey beginning somewhere in Asia and heading in a generally westward direction for an indefinite period of time".

"And maybe, just maybe, in the course of my travels I'll come to some sort of conclusion as to who I am and what I want to do with my life. And so begins my journey beyond the horizon," he said.

The last photo Gaskell posted on his Facebook page was a picture of the Niah National Park on Oct 15, in which he described it as "possibly a photographer's dream".

"If I run into a photographer one day, I will ask," he said, adding that he had spent six nights camping at the park.

It was reported by themercury.com.au that Gaskell's younger bro­ther Ben and father David had flown to Kuching on Friday night to help authorities trace the engineer.

Gaskell, who hails from Hobart, Tasmania, but lived in Queensland recently, went missing on Oct 20.

In Miri, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, who has travel­led far and wide in the jungles of northern Sarawak, urged authorities to bring in Penan trackers into the search operation.

"The search and rescue personnel are trying their best, but they must get more of the Penans in Mulu to help them.

"For example, the Mulu Summit where the search will be focusing on - that area can only be reached by foot and only the Penans will know the way," he said.

Miri Fire and Rescue Department chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said they had deployed two teams of Special Tactical Operation Rescue Mission and Malaysian Specialised Task­force units to Mulu to help the others already on the ground.

As of 3pm yesterday, it was still not known where Gaskell had ventured to.

The Mulu National Park has a network of vast caves, underground rivers and steep mountains as well as sharp limestone walls.