Gareth Huntley: search stepped up as family fear ‘time is running out’ for missing Briton

Both Huntley’s mother and girlfriend have arrived on the Malaysian island as search party is upped to 47 people

Malaysian authorities have promised that all available resources have been deployed in the search for missing Briton Gareth Huntley, as his family fear they are “running out of time” to find him.

Mr Huntley, a 34-year-old accountant from Hackney, London, has been missing from the Juarta Turtle Sanctuary on Tioman Island in Malaysia since Tuesday, after he failed to return from a short trek to a waterfall.

The search party has reportedly been increased to 47 people.

Kit Natariga, Mr Huntley’s girlfriend, arrived on the island today. She posted photos of the area on Facebook, with a message describing her anxiety to find her boyfriend quickly .

She said: “We’re finally here on Tioman Island. A tropical paradise view that would normally inspire for adventure cuts deeper the wound of Gareth’s disappearance. Every glance into the jungle I’m reminded he’s out there on his own for the 6th day.

"It’s 5:59pm, the air is thick with humidity and the mosquitos are coming out.

“It makes me anxious and I feel so helpless. The Malaysian and British Governments are being more proactive but the reality is he’s still out there… vulnerable, hungry, thirsty, tired, scared, alone and running out of time.

“Absolutely crucial to act fast and push the authorities and rescue teams.”

 

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond spoke with his Malaysian counterpart Mishammuddin Hussein on Sunday morning, who was told that all available assets were being used to find Mr Huntley.

Mr Hussein also tweeted about meeting Mr Hammond, and in response to a Twitter user’s plea to help find the missing Briton, the Malaysian defence minister replied: “Doing it. Informed Sec Hammond this morn in our bilateral” with a picture of both ministers speaking together.

The increased support to find Mr Huntley comes after his mother, Janet Southwell, put pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to urge the Malaysian authorities to increase their efforts to find her son, when initial search efforts were criticised.

Ms Southwell, from Bradford, is due to arrive on the Tioman Island on Monday.

Mark Huntley on Sunday said his family wanted to “personally thank David Cameron and Phillip Hammond for their reassurances”, calling it “a very big positive for us”.

“We are, of course, very grateful to the Malaysian people and the authorities for their work too. Everyone has been fantastic.

“We are told that local people went out to look for Gareth as soon as he was first described as missing – so without them there would not be a search mission. What we need to do now is for that work to continue and to find my brother,” he said.  

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson said Mr Hammond was “assured that the Malaysian authorities would do all they could to locate [Mr Huntley] and had already deployed significant assets including dogs, boats and a helicopter”, while the UK Government will work with the Malaysian authorities to ensure there is a comprehensive search.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'