Australian police test bones to see if they belong to missing British backpacker after friend's body found

Our Foreign Staff
Hugo Palmer and Erwan Ferrieux were travelling to tourist spots across Australia

Bones found on an Australian beach will be tested to see if they belong to a missing British backpacker after remains of his French companion were found. 

Australian police said on Monday they believed bones recently found in waters off an east coast beach are the remains of a Frenchman missing since February.

Erwan Ferrieux, 21, was last seen with British tourist Hugo Palmer five months ago near Port Macquarie, a popular tourist town about 385 km (240 miles) north of Sydney.

Concerns about the welfare of the two young backpackers were raised when an unattended rental car was located with their belongings.

Several bones were found off a nearby beach last month and police said testing had confirmed their worst fears.

"We believe from the DNA comparisons that they belong to Erwan Ferrieux," Superintendent Paul Fehon told reporters in Port Macquarie.

He said another bone was found on Sunday and that it had also been sent for forensic analysis to determine whether it was from either of the missing backpackers.

"This bone is from another part of the anatomy," Mr Fehon said. Australia is a popular destination for tourists of all ages and budgets, many of them young backpackers.

Police have also been searching for another missing backpacker, 18-year-old Belgian Theo Hayez, who has not been seen for more than a month.

Hayez vanished after leaving a bar in Byron Bay, a holiday town about 765 km (475 miles) north of Sydney, on May 31.