AustraliaNew twist in search for Theo Hayez as police zero in on headland next to Byron Bay's iconic lighthouse - as fellow backpacker slams hostel for not raising the alarm for THREE days
Major search operation underway in Byron Bay for missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez
A land, sea and air search is underway around the Byron Bay area nine days after Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez went missing after a night out at a local bar.
The Byron Bay hostel where a Belgian backpacker was staying before he vanished has been slammed for taking three days to report him missing.
Theo Hayez, 18, was staying at the WakeUp! hostel when he disappeared on the night of May 31.
He was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey's bar about 11pm before his phone emitted its final signal near cliffs by the town's lighthouse a few hours later.
Mr Hayez was supposed to check out of his room on June 3 but hostel staff did not report him missing until June 6.
Search continues for Belgian teen in Byron
The search for a Belgian teenager, missing in Byron Bay, has narrowed down to two areas after investigations of phone records. Mr Hayez's belongings - including his passport - were found untouched at the Wake Up! Hostel in Byron Bay after staff raised the alarm when he didn't check out as planned. He was supposed to travel to Melbourne before returning home to Belgium this week, according to a Facebook post by his friend Michael Dorkhom. The search for Mr Hayez ramped up on Monday with police, the SES, the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter, Surf Life Saving and volunteer Marine Rescue all involved.
A friend he had been travelling with, Antoine Van Laethem, slammed the hostel for not raising the alarm sooner.
According to the, he said: 'If someone doesn't check out after one day maybe you should ask yourselves some questions.'
'They're using all resources that they can': Search continues for missing backpacker Theo Hayez
Two weeks after his disappearance, the search for Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez continues in Byron Bay, with the arrival of his immediate family imminent. Rescue teams continue to search the Byron Bay headlands, east- and north-east of the town, as well as Belongil Beach. "They're trying to cover all of those central areas," a NSW police spokeswoman said. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.
WakeUp! backpackers declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
On Tuesday there was a change of tact in the search for Mr Hayez as rescuers turned their attention to the headland around the lighthouse.
Dozens of people, including State Emergency Service volunteers and members of the public, searched in the area where the last 'ping' from his phone was recorded on June 1.
The search was suspended that evening with nothing of interest found, NSW Police said in a statement.
The operation resumed mid-morning on Wednesday with specialist police forces.
Theo Hayez's distraught father Laurent made an emotional plea for help on Monday, 17 days after his son went missing.
Missing backpacker Theo Hayez's WhatsApp messages could be key to police breakthrough
The father of missing Belgian backpacker Theo Hayez says unlocking his son's last Whatsapp messages could be key to find him alive. But a leading expert says the tech giant is incapable of unjumbling the "garbled" encrypted messages.
He said he feared his son was in grave danger and begged for any information that could lead police to his whereabouts.
'Before I left Belgium I promised Theo's little brother Lucas that I would bring his brother home. Please, help me keep my promise to him,' Mr Hayez told reporters through tears.
Theo used encrypted service Whatsapp the night he disappeared and his father asked for help obtaining access to the messages.
WhatsApp confirmed it had provided all the information it has to police.
However, the company is only able to access and disclose some data - which can include a user's name, last seen date, IP address and basic information - but not the encrypted content.
Theo Hayez had been preparing to return home after eight months travelling Australia.
Homicide detectives are helping the investigation along with Belgian authorities but police hold hope he is still alive.
More than $65,000 has been raised via a GoFundMe page for the Hayez family, part of which was used to help his father Laurent Hayez fly to Australia.
Laurent Hayez arrived in the country late last week and has vowed to stay until his son is found.
New twist in missing backpacker case as a friend who drank with Theo Hayez on the night he vanished reveals his last moments in a Byron Bay bar
Backpacker Antoine Van Laethem, 19, became friends with Theo at the WakeUp! hostel where the pair had been staying and had gone to a bar with him on May 31 - the night he disappeared.
The disappearance of Theo Hayez
May 31 7.45pm: Theo Hayez and an unnamed friend were caught on CCTV camera at a local bottle shop in Byron Bay.
May 31 11pm: The last confirmed sighting of Hayez. He was spotted leaving the Cheeky Monkey bar and appeared to be heading in the direction of the WakeUp! Backpacker hostel where he was staying.
June 1 AM: The last confirmed WhatsApp message was sent from Theo's phone.
June 1 1:42pm: Theo's phone pinged for the last time.
June 6: Theo was reported missing to local police.
June 9: Police conducted a major land, sea and air search in the Byron Bay area with the assistance of rescue officers, the State Emergency Service, a lifesaver helicopter and lifesavers.
June 10: Locals and other backpackers joined in the search for Theo.
June 10-June 16: SES crews, the dog squad, lifeguards, local volunteers and police are continuing to search the Byron Bay headlands, east and north of the town, as well as beaches and swamps.
June 16: Theo's mother Vinciane Delforge, told a French broadcaster in Belgium she is holding out hope her son is safe and well, but said his disappearance is entirely out of character.
June 17: Theo's father Laurent Hayez travels to Byron Bay to help search for his son Theo. He makes an emotional plea asking Australia to keep looking for his son and vows to stay in the country until he is found.
He says he hopes WhatsApp will cooperate with police to decode the messages that Theo last sent - a feat, he says, which could change the course of the search.
Police confess they are still 'baffled' by the case, and are keeping all lines of inquiry open.
Homicide detectives join in on the search for Theo.
June 18: The search continues around the headland near the town's lighthouse with no results
Belgian police to travel to Byron Bay to continue search for missing backpacker Theo Hayez as his distraught mother arrives in Australia.
The 18-year-old was last seen leaving the Cheeky Monkey's bar in Byron Bay at about 11pm on May 31.