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A frantic British family is desperately trying to find Gareth Huntley who went missing on Tioman island in Malayisa on May 27th.
34 year old Gareth David Huntley was taking some down time before starting a new job in Singapore by volunteering at the Juara Turtle Sanctuary. On the 27th of May he decided to trek 6 kilometers to a local waterfall and set out at midday. He never returned.
The Malaysian and UK Consulate have been working with the sanctuary to investigate his disappearance.
A family member has been in touch with a friend of Gareth’s who he met on the island, she said that travelers and locals have been out searching for him and calling his name but they have found no trace of the man.
According to a Facebook page that has been set up to increase public awareness of this case, local authorities failed to provide a rescue team or the search dogs they said they would provide. Gareth’s family as asking for global helps from the Facebook social media site to share his story to try to put pressure on the authorities in Malaysia to help find Gareth.
One post on the site, from an eye witness of the supposed search in Tiomen suggested that the local police did head out to the waterfall but spent 70% of their time swimming in it rather than searching for the man who is feared to have been badly injured or possibly bitten by a snake.
Three days after his disappearance it has been reported that a family member contacted the UK consulate only to find they were yet to even assign a number to his case.
Gareth’s mother, Janet Southwell has pleaded with UK PM David Cameron for help to find her son a in an open letter and urged him to speak to the Malaysian leader. Downing Street said the government was working with the Malaysians.
A friend of Mr Huntley, Kyle Neo Kai Fu, who lives locally said “The idea that there is a proper, professional search going on is laughable. There are five police, in a boat, nobody is in control. “the most likely scenario is that Gareth is injured on a ravine, with a broken leg, we are running out of time”.
However it seems that yesterday the manhunt has been stepped up after David Cameron put pressure on Malaysian authorities to do more. A professional search team was deployed including paramilitary commandos, five police and three guides with search dogs as well as a fire and rescue team, two boats and a helicopter.
Gareth’s mother told Sky News that it was out of character for her son to go missing, she said, he’s got an exploring natures, he’s intelligent and hopefully his ability to apply himself will get him through this.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: ‘The Defence Secretary, who is in Malaysia, has spoken to the Malaysian Defence Minister this morning to confirm that all available search assets are used to find Gareth Huntley.