Dr Michael Mosley search 'dangerous' as temperatures hit 40C on Greek island of Symi

Search team in Symi, Greece, where a search and rescue operation is under way for TV doctor and columnist Michael Mosley
-Credit: (Image: Yui Mok/PA Wire)


Search teams scouring a small Greek island for missing TV presenter Dr Michael Mosley are working in "dangerous" sweltering conditions as temperatures hit 40C. A uniformed team from the island of Symi has been working in the high heat as the search continued on Saturday, with one member pulling a sheep from a stone shack with a corrugated iron roof to search inside.

Individual firefighters were forced to split up and have been covering vast expanses of steep rocky terrain on their own, as well as using a drone to search the area. One uniformed worker said there were 10 of them searching multiple summits because it was too dangerous for large crews to work during the summer months.

Firefighter Stergos Giakoumakis said from near one of the peaks: “Because it’s not so easy to bring here 100 people, especially this period, because it’s the most dangerous period. Everything is dry and it is too dangerous for firemen to search.”

A different team worked in the morning and there was a half-hour handover, he added. Firefighters having been using umbrellas to protect themselves as there is no shade or path near the top of the hill that sits between Pedi bay and Agia Marina, where they suspect Dr Mosley may have walked.

Dead grass juts out between rocks and large boulders and the only living vegetation is a few small shrubs. An emergency helicopter was seen flying over Pedi bay towards the mountainous terrain where the hunt for Mosley is being carried out around 3.20pm local time.

On Friday, the mayor’s daughter Mika Papakalodouka told the PA news agency that “a lot of” island residents had joined the search using their own boats to find the British national. “It is a small island, people talk. We’re good people actually here. Everybody is looking for him,” the 20-year-old said. “It’s such a small island to get lost on. It’s so weird for us. Everybody is worried and looking for him.”

Search team in Symi, Greece, where a search and rescue operation is under way for TV doctor and columnist Michael Mosley
Search teams are facing tough conditions -Credit:Yui Mok/PA Wire

A woman reported seeing Dr Mosley, known for popularising the 5:2 diet and for his appearances on The One Show and This Morning, in the Pedi area on Wednesday. A local Facebook group said Mosley went for a walk from Saint Nikolas beach at about 1.30pm Greek time (11.30am BST) on Wednesday.

Earlier on Saturday Dr Mosley’s wife said his family “will not lose hope” as the search for the missing British TV doctor moved to a treacherous mountainous area on the island. Emergency workers have been trying to locate the 67-year-old TV personality in Symi after he disappeared during a walk to the centre of the island on Wednesday.

Dr Clare Bailey Mosley said the three days he has been missing have been the “longest and most unbearable days” for her and her children. Dr Mosley’s four children have joined their mother on Symi to help with the search efforts.

In her statement, Dr Bailey Mosley said: “It has been three days since Michael left the beach to go for a walk. The longest and most unbearable days for myself and my children.

“The search is ongoing and our family are so incredibly grateful to the people of Symi, the Greek authorities and the British Consulate who are working tirelessly to help find Michael. We will not lose hope.”

The clip is believed to show missing TV doctor Michael Mosley
New CCTV of a man believed to be missing TV and radio presenter Michael Mosley -Credit:Daily Mirror

New CCTV appeared to show Mosley walking unimpeded with an umbrella near to the marina in the village of Pedi in Symi. Previous footage from a house at the edge of Pedi’s small marina showed the presenter walking towards a mountainous path at about 2pm local time on Wednesday.

The mayor of Symi, Eleftherios Papakaloudoukas, vowed to continue the extensive search operation, which has involved police, firefighters with drones, and divers, despite the dangerous conditions and high temperatures, until he is found. The mayor said the area where Mosley is believed to have travelled through is “difficult to pass” and is “only rocks”, as well as being populated by “loads” of snakes.

Dr Michael Mosley
Dr Michael Mosley -Credit:John Rogers/BBC/PA

Speaking through a translator, the mayor of 22 years questioned how anyone could survive in the heat that topped 40C on the day Mosley disappeared. The search to find Dr Mosley was described as a “race against time” by one of the rescuers on Friday.

Mr Papakaloudoukas said he hoped Dr Mosley would be found “safe and alive”, adding: “All the community is so sad about this, (it has) never happened before.”

At 6am on Saturday firefighters started scouring a 6.5km (four-mile) radius over a mountainous area that is surrounded by sea, said Manolis Tsimpoukas, who organises searches for missing people on the Dodecanese Islands. Asked if there had been any sign of the Briton, he said there has been “nothing, nothing” and described the area as “very dangerous”.