Rescuers will be pushing deeper and further, even camping out in the jungles of Pulau Tioman, in the search for missing Briton Gareth Huntley.
PULAU TIOMAN: The conditions are harsh, even for members of the search team, some of whom have suffered injuries during the effort to find missing Gareth Huntley (pic).
But, with no trace of the Briton after one week, authorities say they will simply be pushing deeper and further, even camping out in the jungle.
“Anything it takes to find the missing person,’ said Pahang Fire and Rescue Department operations chief Alimaddia Bukri.
He described the trek as “harsh, unforgiving” jungle with the rocky terrain proving a challenge for the search team.
“Some of our officers have suffered sprains, cuts and other minor injuries. The jungle trail has been dense and hilly, while the areas near the waterfall have sharp rocks.
“It has been difficult but I believe everyone is determined to see this through to a happy end,” said Alimaddia at the operations base here.
The search team so far has swelled to include 98 officers, three K9 units, four boats and two helicopters, sweeping over 850 sq km for the 34-year-old who went missing on May 27 after trekking out to a waterfall 4km from the Juara Turtle Project in Kampung Juara.
Alimaddia said officers from the Fire and Rescue department, police, Civil Defence department (JPAM) and Rela, have been searching in four key areas in the jungle around Lubuk Teja waterfall, where they believe the 34-year-old may be lost.
The search is expected to resume at 7.30am today with Rompin OCPD Deputy Supt Johari Yahaya saying that officers would push deeper into the four sectors surrounding the waterfall.
Official reports state that Huntley, a London accountant on sabbatical, arrived at the Juara Turtle project on May 24, where he intended to serve as a volunteer.
On May 27, Huntley informed his chalet management that he was going for a trek to the Lubuk Teja waterfall at around 12pm. The journey was only meant to take one hour and 15 minutes.
At 5pm, Huntley failed to return to his chalet, prompting his friends and some villagers to organise a small search for him.
Kampung Juara chief Ab Razib Ali Awang said locals had always recommended tourists to trek with a guide – a suggestion which was made to Huntley but was refused.
“The trek isn’t that difficult. Locals here can reach there dressed in shoes and short pants in just an hour. However, if people unfamiliar with the trek go alone it could be challenging for them to find their way back.
“We understand some tourists have trekked more dangerous jungles than here but we urge them to heed our advice and take a guide with them as we do not want another incident to happen again,” said Ab Razib.
'I believe my son can survive this'
Huntley is probably injured, says search and rescue specialist