UPDATE: Man's body found in Mt Bogong area during search for missing hiker

MISSING: Emergency services personnel are searching for Leslie Southwell, 88, who became separated from friends while hiking in the Alpine region.

MISSING: Emergency services personnel are searching for Leslie Southwell, 88, who became separated from friends while hiking in the Alpine region.

UPDATE: A MISSING man has been found dead on Mt Bogong during a search operation.

Police found the body of Melbourne man Leslie Southwell, 88, during the operation on Sunday morning.

Two rescuers had spotted his body outside his tent through binoculars.

It appeared he had died of hypothermia, with the temperature dropping to minus six degrees overnight on Saturday, but the cause is being investigated.

The experienced hiker was with a friend for a planned eight day walk.

He was last seen on Thursday morning, police were notified the following day, and a search began on Friday night.

Mr Southwell had been well prepared with food to last several days and a tent.

His body was found about a kilometre north of Cleve Cole Hut about 9am on Sunday.

Senior Sergeant Doug Incoll said he was sitting outside his tent when he died.

“There is no indication he has done anything untoward or wrong,” he said.

“It’s early days in the investigation and a report will need to be prepared for the coroner.

“But the early indication is that he was properly prepared and well equipped.”

About 30 police officers and volunteer rescuers were involved in the rescue operation. 

Senior Sergeant Incoll urged those travelling to alpine areas to be prepared for rapid changes to weather conditions. 

“They need to be prepared for all contingencies,” he said. 

“With the warmer weather predicted and recent snowfall, we’ve had the threat of avalanches increase. 

“People need to do a through risk assessment in that environment.” 

EARLIER: A search is under way for an 88-year-old hiker missing in North East Victoria’s Alpine region.

Leslie Southwell had been hiking with friends this week when they became separated on Thursday while completing a 4.7 kilometre trek from Cleve Cole Memorial Hut to Michelle Hut, near Mount Bogong.

Victoria Police and family members hold concerns for Mr Southwell’s welfare owing to his age and the Alpine weather conditions.

He is described as about 167 centimetres with a thin build and short grey hair.

Last seen wearing a dark Gore-Tex top and bottom, Mr Southwell was carrying a royal blue back pack.

He is well-equipped with three days of food and an orange single man tent.

Anyone who sees Mr Southwell or has information should contact Wangaratta Police on (03) 5723 0888 or call triple zero.