Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux came to Australia with high hopes of adventure and fun under the sun… then they disappeared without a trace.
The journey began in England in November and looks likely to end in tragedy as emergency services wrap up a fourth day of searching with no sign of the pair.
The 20 year old Englishman and 21 year old Frenchman both attended Sackville School in East Grinstead, have been friends for years and shared an interest in anime, manga and video games.
They travelled the NSW coast and had made it to Port Macquarie's Shelly Beach on Sunday, February 17, before going missing.
Their towels, keys and glasses were sighted Sunday evening next to a beach boat ramp, indicating they may have swum during rough conditions in 1m to 1.6m surf.
The items were later found by beach walkers at 6.30am on Monday, February 18.
We are all heartbroken and devastated back here. Please keep looking, they are much-loved and had their lives ahead of them and we want them back.Kay Wenman, Kent
Police searched their rented silver Commodore station wagon in the beach car park, finding travel documents and other belongings.
State Emergency Services, Marine Rescue, NSW Police, Pol-Air and Surf Life Saving conducted searches on air, land and sea around the clock in the following days.
In a letter to the Port News, Kay Wenman of Kent wrote: "Please I'm begging tell the police not to give up looking for Erwan and Hugo.
"We are all heartbroken and devastated back here. Please keep looking, they are much-loved and had their lives ahead of them and we want them back."
Hugo Palmer's aunt, Lorraine Tilling made the journey to Port Macquarie and is assisting the search teams.
As did friends of the missing men, Caraa Blackburn and Emily Powell, who were originally going to travel up from Sydney to meet the pair in Port Macquarie.
After three days without a sign of Hugo or Erwan, the search was scaled back on Wednesday afternoon prompted by advice from experts.
Roving patrols are expected to continue without use of three helicopters, additional water rescue teams, volunteers or police divers.
A NSW Police spokesperson said there is no time limit set to stop searching for the men.
"The scaled back search will involve the local police and water police teams including sweeps of the coast as their daily taskings," they said.
"How long this will continue will be reviewed regularly... there's no date to completely stop the search."
"Police have been in contact with the families; however, it's unknown whether they will be coming to Australia," said the spokesperson.
"An auntie of one of the boys was with the searchers."
Police are still appealing to anyone who might have seen the men, or their car, near the Shelly Beach car park or in the surrounding streets to contact them.
Hugo Palmer from Forest Row Sussex, England, is described as being of Caucasian appearance, with fair hair 180cm tall and with an athletic build.
Erwan Ferrieux from France has dark hair, brown eyes, a tanned complexion and is between 175cm-180cm tall.
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