12 Jan 2014

Australian soldier missing in US

12:30 pm on 12 January 2014

An Australian soldier is missing while on leave in the United States.

Captain Paul McKay, 31, of Canberra, was last seen in freezing conditions on New Year's Eve.

New York state police say he has post-traumatic stress disorder.

AAP reports forest rangers and a special response team are searching for him.

Saranac Lake police chief Bruce Nason told Fairfax Media that Captain McKay, an Afghanistan veteran, emailed his father from a Best Western motel in Saranac Lake on 30 December to say he was leaving him all his possessions.

He was last seen walking along railway tracks near Saranac Lake the next day, wearing winter weather clothing and carrying a large backpack.

Despite average daily lows of minus 16C at Saranac Lake in January, Chief Nason said the clothing Captain McKay was seen in was an encouraging sign.

"This coupled with his military training and physical fitness make it likely that he is well prepared to survive in winter conditions," Chief Nason said.

State police believe Captain McKay was headed for Lake Placid.