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Camper likely a victim of mother nature

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016

An experienced camper and bushwalker who went missing in a remote part of Western Australia almost two years ago is likely to have been a victim of mother nature, a coronial inquest has been told.

Rowan Wallace Cook, 40, travelled to WA from Sydney in 2013 and went missing while camping at Aldridge Cove in Walpole Nornalup National Park.

Mr Cook is believed to have disappeared between October 2, when he was last seen in Walpole, and November 18, when his abandoned campsite was discovered by other campers.

Sergeant Cameron Clifford testified on Monday that Mr Cook, who was considered to be insular and a loner, was never found despite an extensive search.

There did not appear to be anything unlawful about Mr Cook's disappearance and Sgt Clifford did not believe he set out to harm himself or staged his own disappearance.

He said it was likely Mr Cook died as a result of misadventure and noted there were several dangers in the area including cliff falls, large swells, sharks, snakes, caves and sink holes.

In Sgt Clifford's opinion, Mr Cook probably died three or four days after he was last seen given the state of his campsite, which included well organised rubbish that indicated he had consumed a few days worth of food.

Money was present, but no head torch.

"I think he was definitely out at night," he said.

"I believe he intended on coming back to the campground."

Sgt Clifford hypothesised Mr Cook had gone rock fishing or exploring caves and was a victim of mother nature.

He said there were six-metre swells and king waves of 10 metres in the area, and the ocean was the most obvious threat.

Counsel assisting the coroner Lyle Housiaux said Mr Cook had arranged to store his car on September 20 and for a direct debit to pay for the storage until he collected it.

"He had bought some new camping equipment which was later found in the vehicle and it seemed obvious that he was going on elsewhere after Aldridge Cove," he said.

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