A BRITISH backpacker has vanished after apparently jumping off a bridge into a river in Australia.
The 30-year-old man reportedly took a running leap “three or four metres” from the edge of the William Jolly Bridge, Brisbane, in what police have labelled a “drunken stunt.”
He had been drinking with three other friends – believed to be foreign nationals – at a hostel before the group “decided would be a bit of fun” to jump into the Brisbane River.
It is believed the Briton agreed to jump first “for a bit of fun and to cool down” – but he disappeared in the water before resurfacing, only to go back under.
He has not been seen since, prompting police to launch a major land and water search after friends scoured the area before notifying officials.
The 30-year-old’s parents were contacted by police.
Officer Inspector Sean Cryer said: “They were quite upset, obviously.”
The missing man – whose name police will not release until all relatives have been informed – also has family in Brisbane who officers are trying to locate.
Inspector Cryer confirmed the man had been working in Brisbane but was unaware how long he had been in Australia.
He had been staying at a hostel where the group was drinking before the incident on Sunday
nspector Cryer said people had most likely been “jumping off that bridge ever since they built it”.
He said: “Sometimes they live and sometimes they die.
“People jump off bridges all over the world and it’s a silly thing to do but young men sometimes engage in high risk activity.”
The search and rescue operation includes police helicopters, water police, and officers on bike and foot who are scouring the area.
But no police divers have been deployed to the area yet.
A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Canberra confirmed consular staff are in contact with the missing man’s family.
They said: “We can confirm that local authorities in Brisbane, Australia, are searching for a British National reported missing on 17 January.
“Consular staff are in contact with the family in the UK and are offering support at this difficult time.”