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Search crew hold out hope for missing Australian soldier Paul McKay

Captain Paul McKay, from Canberra, at the Albany bus terminal on December 30, the day before he was last seen.

Captain Paul McKay, from Canberra, at the Albany bus terminal on December 30, the day before he was last seen. Photo: Supplied

Warmer temperatures and melting snow near Saranac Lake have aided US police and rangers on the ninth day of the search for missing Australian soldier and Canberra man Paul McKay.

Between 30 and 60 personnel, including rangers and police officers from across New York state, are currently conducting an intensive ground search for Mr McKay.

Captain Paul McKay.

Captain Paul McKay. Photo: Supplied

A spokesperson for the Saranac Lake Police Department said the search, which began on January 4th, would continue indefinitely.

The 31-year-old Afghanistan veteran, who reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, was last seen on December 31 near the town of Saranac Lake in New York state.

The remote area had been experiencing low temperatures and heavy snows recently, with temperatures as low as minus 31 degrees Celsius.

But according to Saranac Lake police, recent annual thaws brought on by warming temperatures and heavy rain have melted snow and made the search easier.

"We experience something annually known as the January thaw, where we typically lose most or a good portion of the snow cover, obviously that would assist with the search," Saranac Lake Police Department Sergeant James Law said.

"It would assist with our hopes of finding him alive and well."

Saranac Lake police chief Bruce Nason said on Saturday that Mr McKay's warm winter clothing and military training meant it was likely he was well-prepared for the winter conditions.

Some of the organisations who have assisted in the search include the New York State Forest Rangers, Lake Placid Village Police and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department.

Sergeant Law said since Mr McKay's disappearance there had been no activity on his bank accounts, his phone or on his social media accounts.

The last communication from the Australian solider was an email to his father, where he shared some financial information and left him all of his possessions.

US Police are still looking to speak to anyone who knew why Paul McKay came to the United States, or who may have spoken to him about his plans.

"We are following every single lead that we can and have every hope of recovering him quickly and in the best condition possible," Sergeant Law said.

"There is no scale back of the search based on any type of speculation as to his condition. We're going ahead full speed."

- with Matthew Raggatt

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