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(AUSTRALIA) LATEST: Jetstar Airways has confirmed it has stood down a pilot in connection to an investigation into the disappearance of Victorian campers Russell Hill and Carol Clay #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Nov.24: The investigation into the matter remains ongoing and further information will be released when operationally appropriate to do so,” police said……

#AceDailyNews says according to news media the couple went missing from their Wonnangatta Valley camp site in the Victorian High Country in March last year: A 55-year-old Caroline Springs man was arrested on Monday afternoon and his Nissan Patrol was seized for forensic testing: In a statement, Victoria Police said detectives arrested the man about 5:30pm on Monday and were interviewing him earlier today.

A composite image of a man outside and a woman holding a glass of wine at a restaurant
Russell Hill and Carol Clay were last heard from in March 2020.(Supplied: Victoria Police.)

This evening, a Jetstar spokesperson released this statement:

“Jetstar has been advised by Victoria Police that one of its employees is under investigation for a serious crime and will work to assist in this due process any way we can. As a matter of course, the employee has been removed from duty as a result of their arrest.”

Detectives have made repeated appeals for information since Mr Hill and Ms Clay disappeared while camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley in north-eastern Victoria in March last year.

A map marking the Wonnangatta Valley, between Mt Hotham and Mt Buller, a little to the north.
The Wonnangatta Valley lies between Mt Buller and Mt Hotham in the Victorian High Country.(ABC News: Paul Sellenger)

The man was arrested at a camp site near Arbuckle Junction in a remote part of Gippsland.Police seized this 4WD belonging to the 55-year-old man they arrested.(ABC News: Daniel Fermer)

The two campers, aged in their 70s, were last heard from on March 20, 2020, when Mr Hill used his radio to communicate with friends around 6:30pm.

Other campers came upon Mr Hill and Ms Clay’s burnt-out camp site, the next day at 2pm.

The fire that had engulfed the site was so hot it had destroyed the tent and left black stains down the side of the 4WD.Both the site of the arrest and the camp site the pair disappeared from are in a remote part of Gippsland. (ABC News)

Last month, police said hundreds of people across the state had provided information or assistance to the investigation.

Investigators released images of several cars over the past 20 months as they followed up leads and tips on who may have been in the area when the pair disappeared.

Families ‘stuck’ in grief without answers

camp site burn out, with burnt tent, chairs and other camping equipment. ute with minor fire damage.
The pair’s campsite was found burnt, but Mr Hill’s car was still there.(Supplied)

The remote and rugged High Country has been home to several disappearances of hikers and travellers over the years.

But Mr Hill was a regular camper in the area and knew the 4WD Zeka Spur Track into the region well, having helped build it decades earlier as a contract logger.

A huge pile of fallen trees and branches block a section of a small river. The scene is covered in fog.
Police have combed through remote bushland but have so far been unable to find the two campers.(ABC News: Tim Bates)

He had picked up Ms Clay, a former Country Women’s Association president, from her Pakenham home on March 19 before their trip.

Last month the families of the two campers spoke of their pain at the long wait for answers.

“It’s really hard, it’s not getting any better not knowing. It’s just unknown, he just disappeared and you’re just stuck in the middle,” Mr Hill’s daughter Debbie said.

Ms Clay’s sister, Jill, said her family was in a particularly painful period of grief without answers.

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