The mum of a young backpacker who has gone missing in Cambodia is flying out to the country in a desperate attempt to help find her.
Amelia Bambridge, 21, was last seen by travelling companions at a beach party on the island of Koh Rong at 3am on Wednesday.
Amelia is from Worthing and travelling alone on a gap year. She was supposed to check out of her youth hostel at noon yesterday to leave the island that afternoon with a friend.
But ten hours later, at 10pm local time, the manager of hostel the Nest Beach Club told her mum Linda that her daughter had been declared “officially missing”.
Her mum fears she may have got lost walking through forest on her way back to the hostel.
Linda, 52, is taking an emergency flight to South-East Asia today (Saturday) to join a search party of concerned locals and police.
She told The Argus : “I have got numbers of people to contact in Cambodia.
“I’m going to Bangkok, getting another flight to the country, then transport from the capital to the coastline.
“From there I’m getting a ferry, hopefully arriving at 2pm tomorrow afternoon local time.
Amelia’s handbag, containing her purse, phone and bank cards, was found on the beach after the party on Wednesday night. Her passport is still at the hostel.
It is understood there are no lights from the beach to the Nest Club, which is 40 minutes away. The area is also thickly forested.
Linda is hoping that Amelia, a former student at Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College, got “lost on her way back” and the search party will be able to find her.
Amelia’s sister Georgie, 19, said she is close to her sister and that Amelia would message the family whenever she had wifi.
Georgie said: “She is strong minded, really sensible and very organised.
“She spent the last year Googling solo female travelling, looking at pages and blogs and sorting out everything.
“I’m just in shock. She has never done anything like this before.
“I spoke to her on Wednesday and she normally messages us every now and then, every time she got wifi.
“I told her to put loads of pictures online to see what she was up to.
“It’s horrendous but we need to be positive and she needs to be found.”
Amelia left the UK last month after completing an apprenticeship. It is her first time travelling on her own.
Ryan Harris, 18, who was part of the group travelling Cambodia with the 21-year-old, raised the alarm. He had moved onto another island with plans to meet back up with Amelia.
Cambodian police have been informed by Ryan said they indicated nothing would be done until she had been missing for 72 hours.
He said: “She was one of the first people I met over here about a week ago.
“I met her in Phnom Penh and we got the boat to Koh Rong. We all spent a few days together and met up with a few other people in a big group.
“We went on to a neighbouring island but she stayed there with another girl I know, who had travelled with us on the boat over.
“I then had to travel back to Koh Rong after leaving my passport at the hostel and when I got there two people told me she had gone missing.
“I assumed she would turn up, but I have since travelled another 12 hours on a bus to Siem Reap and she still has not been found She is supposed to be in Siem Reap by now.
“From my experience, I would say it is out of character for her not to come back after a few hours, and it is a small island.
“Even if you go your separate ways after a few drinks you see people again ten or 20 minutes later. She should have come back by now.”
Ryan explained the hostel held passports to ensure customers paid the bill, but Amelia had not gone back for hers.
“She hasn’t gone back for that or checked out, which raises a red flag,” he said.
Amelia was last seen wearing a tropical print shirt. She has a cow tattoo on her forearm and two cat tattoos on her legs.