Gareth Huntley: Body found in Malaysia in search for missing backpacker

The thirty-four-year-old has not been seen since last Tuesday

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The Independent Online

Police involved in the search for missing British backpacker Gareth Huntley in the Malaysian jungle have found a body, the Foreign Office has said.

The body, which has not been confirmed as the missing Briton, was found today near a pond a few yards from a kayak storage unit near the Juara Turtle Project where Mr Huntley had been working, according to local reports.

The 34-year-old has not been seen since he started on a popular trek to visit a waterfall in Tioman Island, off the south-eastern coast of the country's mainland, on Tuesday 27 May.

Mr Huntely, who was on a sabbatical from his job in the City, had told friends at the headquarters where he was volunteering that he would return at 2pm the same day he set off but failed to come back.

Family and friends have feared that Mr Huntley may now be running low on water supplies after getting lost or injured while walking to or from the Lubuk Teja waterfalls.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Malaysian police have confirmed that a body has been found on Tioman Island in Malaysia.

”Foreign Office consular staff on the ground are continuing to work closely with the Malaysian authorities and are investigating with them as a matter of urgency.

“We continue to provide support to the family of Gareth Huntley at this very difficult time.”

His mother, Janet Southwell, flew to Malaysia to assist the search on Monday, after telling the BBC she wanted to be there “when they find him”. Last week she appealed to the Prime Minister David Cameron to assist in the search by "making one phone call" to Malaysian authorities.

At that point, she said she had not been given any official advice on the progress of the search. A Facebook page set up to find Mr Huntley urged the Malaysian police to "work faster" on Friday.

In her letter, she told Mr Cameron: “As a father, you know that we’d do anything for our children and so I’m humbly asking that you make one phone call to help my missing son, Gareth.

“Please do the right thing and make one phone call to the Malaysian leader to insist that they deploy real help to find Gareth before time runs out. He is out there in the jungle and he needs help.

“We need boots on the ground, search teams and dogs so that we can bring our son back alive.”

Additional reporting by Press Association