“We’ve covered a large area from east of Rawson, north of the Thomson Dam towards Mount Useful and west of the Thomson Dam as well. It’s probably up to 2000 square kilometres we’ve checked which is a large area,” he told radio station 3AW.
The air wing has been scouring the dense bushland from above, and on Thursday off-road motorcyclists will be sent out to check all the bush tracks which are not visible from the sky.
The search has been difficult as the pair told family they were going to be in the Thomson Dam area but weren’t specific about their exact destination.
Search parties are hoping to find their car, which would mean they can focus their search on a particular area.
Inspector Cashman said after a weekend of rain and snow, the weather had settled down in the past few days which provided clear vision for searchers and warmer overnight temperatures for the missing pair.
He said they were hoping Mr Forbes and Ms Lowden were seeking protection inside their car.
“If they are in their car with camping gear to keep them warm, hopefully they will be okay. If they moved away from the car that’s a concern. But if they stay with the car they would have water, some food supplies, but the water access will keep them going.”
He said there was nothing in the pair’s backgrounds which could suggest why they had disappeared.
“Nothing at all, totally out of character,” he said.
The pair left on Friday for the Thomson Dam, near Walhalla in West Gippsland, and were expected to return the next afternoon.
When they didn’t return on Saturday, the family put it down to a decision to stay an extra night and poor phone reception, Ms Lowden’s mother Debbie said.
The alarm was raised when Mr Forbes failed to show up to work on Sunday and again on Monday.
Debbie Lowden said on Wednesday she was “nervous, worried and a little bit scared” but was trying to stay positive.
She said her daughter was outgoing, bubbly and the type of woman who would do anything for her friends.
“I’d say I love you, come home,” she said. “I’ve made you some chocolate muffins. They’re sitting here waiting for you, just come and get them.”
Anyone who was in the area over the weekend and saw the car – a green 1994 Nissan Patrol wagon with the registration FQC 467 – is urged to contact police.
Simone is a breaking news reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Australian in Melbourne.
Zach is a reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org