UK & World News

  • 1 June 2014, 22:50

Jungle Search For Missing Briton Stepped Up

The girlfriend of a British man missing in the Malaysian jungle has spoken of her torment, as the hunt for him is stepped up.

Kit Natariga's partner GarethHuntley disappeared on Tuesdayon a trek to a remote waterfall onTioman Island, off the peninsula's east coast.

Search teams have been promised every available resource to help find the 34-year-old accountant, with a helicopter crew, paramilitary commandos and emergency services drafted in.

Sniffer dogs and patrol boats will also be used to help trace him, and there is speculation that specialist military personnel from Britain, based in nearby Brunei, could join the search.

Sky's DarrenMcCaffrey, outside the Foreign Office, said: "So far, that hasn't been offered or indeed requested by the Malaysian authorities."

Speaking to Sky News shortly after landing on Tioman, Ms Natariga said: "It's really tough, especially coming onto the island.

"It's beautiful, a paradise place, and I know Gareth's out there in the jungle somewhere. Every time I look out of the window, I hope I'll see him.

"It's very difficult ... he's in danger and time is running out."

The stepped-up search comes after Mr Huntley's family criticised the response of authorities in both Britain and Malaysia.

His mother, Janet Southwell, wrote an open letter to David Cameron, urging the Prime Minister to intervene.

His brother, Mark Huntley, said "real action" was needed and called for "boots on the ground".

"This was a man working out there as a wildlife volunteer," he said. "He deserves our assistance."

Defence SecretaryPhilip Hammond, who is also in Malaysia, raised the issue with his counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein and was told "all available search assets" will be used.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "He was assured the Malaysian authorities would do all they could to locate him."

Mr Huntley's family have since said they are "hugely grateful" to Mr Cameron and Mr Hammond for their intervention.

The missing Briton, who lives in Hackney, east London, had been working for the Juara Turtle Project, a Malaysian conservation charity.

He told friends he would return from the jungle on Tuesday afternoon but has not been seen since setting off earlier in the day.

Ms Southwell described her son's disappearance as "totally out of character".

"He just would not do it," she said. "He knows there are too many people who care (about him) and love him."

Advertisement