Body of Australian missing in Brazil found, family 'heartbroken'

Mr Rye Hunt, 25, disappeared on May 21 from the Copacabana Beach area.
Mr Rye Hunt, 25, disappeared on May 21 from the Copacabana Beach area.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - The body of an Australian man missing in Brazil has been found, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed on Saturday (June 11), as the man's family said they were "heartbroken".

Mr Rye Hunt, 25, disappeared on May 21 from the Copacabana Beach area. Hopes of finding him alive dimmed last week when remains washed up about 25km from Rio.

"I can confirm that Brazilian authorities have informed us that the body that was discovered recently near Rio De Janeiro is in fact that of Australian citizen Rye Duval Hunt," Ms Bishop told reporters. "We will continue to work with the family, providing whatever support we can within our consular responsibilities, and we'll continue to work with the Brazilian authorities to determine how this death came about."

Brazilian police say Mr Hunt had taken powerful drugs and was suffering a psychotic episode in the hours before he went missing.

But little is known about his final steps.

Mr Hunt had been travelling with a friend and had been due to leave Rio but unexpectedly took a taxi from the airport and ended up in a short-term rental apartment in Copacabana.

Brazilian police searching for the backpacker revealed earlier this month that a fisherman had reported seeing a body floating off Copacabana Beach wearing clothing similar to that Mr Hunt was wearing when he disappeared.

Another fisherman had earlier reported seeing a man on a tiny uninhabited island a short distance from the same beach.

The young man had been injured by contact with shellfish and asked for water, according to the fisherman's report which police said at the time was unconfirmed but credible.

"We are understandably heartbroken," Mr Hunt's sister Romany Brodribb said, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.