Firefighters battle dangerous terrain and 40C heat in search for missing Dr Michael Mosley in Greece

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 on the small Greek island of Symi are battling "dangerous" and sweltering conditions, with temperatures soaring to 40C, in their quest to find missing TV presenter Dr Michael Mosley. The uniformed team from Symi has been enduring the intense heat as the search pressed on into Saturday, with efforts including rescuing a sheep trapped in a stone shack to thoroughly check the premises.

Firefighters have had to divide their forces, tackling the challenging steep and rocky landscape individually, while also deploying a drone to aid in the search. One of the searchers commented on the perilous nature of the task during the summer months, which limits the size of the search parties due to the heightened risk of wildfires.

Stergos Giakoumakis, a firefighter, explained the situation from one of the search 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."

The teams have been working in shifts, with a half-hour handover between them, according to Giakoumakis. To combat the relentless sun, firefighters have resorted to using umbrellas for protection, as they navigate areas devoid of shade or paths near the hilltops that lie between Pedi bay and Agia Marina, the suspected route of Dr Mosley.

The terrain is treacherous, with dead grass poking through the rocky ground and only sparse shrubbery surviving the harsh conditions. An emergency helicopter was also spotted at approximately 3.20pm local time, flying over Pedi bay towards the rugged area where the intensive search for Dr Mosley continues, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

On Friday, Mika Papakalodouka, the mayor's daughter, spoke to PA news agency, revealing that numerous islanders had taken to their boats in an effort to locate the missing Brit. "It is a small island, people talk. We're good people actually here. Everybody is looking for him," said the 20 year old.

"It's such a small island to get lost on. It's so weird for us. Everybody is worried and looking for him."

A sighting of Dr Mosley, famed for his promotion of the 5:2 diet and regular appearances on The One Show and This Morning, was reported by a woman who saw him in the Pedi area on Wednesday. According to a local Facebook group, Mosley set out for a walk from Saint Nikolas beach around 1.30pm Greek time (11.30am BST) on Wednesday.

Dr Mosley's wife expressed her enduring hope on Saturday as the search for the well-known British television doctor expanded into the dangerous mountain regions of Symi. Search teams have been scouring the area for the 67 year old since he vanished while walking towards the island's centre on Wednesday.

Dr Clare Bailey Mosley described the ordeal of the past three days without her husband as the "longest and most unbearable days" for both her and their children. All four of Dr Mosley's children have travelled to Symi to assist with the ongoing search.

In a heartfelt statement, Dr Bailey Mosley conveyed the family's distress: "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."

New CCTV footage has emerged showing Mosley walking with an umbrella near Pedi marina in Symi. Earlier video from a local residence captured him heading towards a rugged trail around 2pm on Wednesday.

Symi's mayor, Eleftherios Papakaloudoukas, has pledged to press on with the intensive search efforts, which include police, firefighters with drones, and divers, despite the perilous terrain and soaring temperatures, until Mosley is located. He described the terrain as "difficult to pass" consisting of "only rocks" and home to numerous snakes.

Through an interpreter, Mayor Papakaloudoukas, who has served for 22 years, expressed doubt over anyone's ability to withstand the extreme heat, which exceeded 40C on the day Mosley vanished. The mission to locate Dr Mosley has been termed a "race against time" by one of the search party members last Friday.

Mr Papakaloudoukas expressed his hope that Dr Mosley would be found "safe and alive", remarking: "All the community is so sad about this, (it has) never happened before."

At 6am on Saturday, firefighters began a search within a 6.5km (four-mile) radius over a mountainous region encircled by the sea, according to Manolis Tsimpoukas, who coordinates searches for missing individuals on the Dodecanese Islands. When questioned about any trace of the missing Briton, he reported "nothing, nothing" and characterised the terrain as "very dangerous".