A huge search is underway in Tasmania after a four-year-old girl vanished on Wednesday afternoon from a property in remote location southeast of Hobart.
Shayla Phillips was last seen around 2.30 p.m. in a backyard on Stormlea Road in Stormlea, near Port Arthur, playing with two dogs.
Pink leggings, a cream top, and gumboots were on her feet.
Overnight, more than 20 police officers and state emergency service volunteers, as well as a Westpac rescue helicopter, police drone unit, and specialised dogs, combed the area.
One of the dogs Shayla was playing with has since been discovered, but the girl has yet to be found.
In a Thursday morning update, authorities recommended that members of the public refrain from assisting with the search.
Stormlea Road is located on the Tasman Peninsula and connects to the Tasmanian mainland through a narrow land bridge at Dunalley.
It’s roughly 7 kilometres from Port Arthur and 5 kilometres from White Beach, and it’s surrounded by hills, extensive bushland, forest, and farming.
“Due to the isolation of the area, and to ensure a coordinated and safe search, police advise that sufficient resources are currently deployed to the area and further assistance is not sought at this time,” a police spokesperson said.
Kelly Spaulding, the mayor of the Tasman council, resides on the same street.
When he heard the news, he left a council meeting and hurried home to search his land, according to the Hobart Mercury.
“It’s just horrible for anyone in this situation. Everybody feels it when a child goes missing,” he said.
“Our property is not far from the search area so I just went home and checked around our place and listened for any sign of the girl.”