Gareth Huntley: Mother arrives in Malaysia to support search effort

Janet Southwell said she wants to be in the country 'when they find him'

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The Independent Online

The mother of a British man missing in the Malaysian jungle has travelled to the country as international agencies continue to search for clues.

Janet Southwell arrived on the island Monday morning to support the search effort for Gareth Huntely, who has not been seen since he went on a trek to visit a waterfall in Tioman Island, off the south-eastern coast of the country's mainland, last Tuesday morning.

She told the BBC: “I want to see the area for myself, absolutely, get a feel for where he's lost, where he's missing.

"I just want to be here when they find him.

“I think he will want to see a familiar face when they find him.

"I'm obviously very concerned. It's going to be a good outcome, so I just have to focus on that."

She said that she hoped to join the search if possible.

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

The British Government has stepped up efforts to find the 34-year-old, who is originally from the Leeds-Bradford border, while Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has been assured that "all available search assets" are being used.

Mr Huntley's family have praised the "fantastic" attempts to find the trained accountant.

His younger brother, Mark, said the family are keeping positive as a result of efforts to find him.

He said: "We want to personally thank David Cameron and Philip Hammond for their reassurances. It is 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 now is for that work to continue and to find my brother.”

Mr Huntley's girlfriend, Kit Natariga, arrived on the island yesterday.

She said efforts to find Mr Huntley were a tonic to the anxiety, but admitted time to find him was “running out”.

She told Sky News: “It's really tough coming on to the island, we're in a bit of a helpless state.

"We cannot give up... time is running out."

Additional reporting by Press Association