Jay Slater search leader gives update on mountain no-go areas and reaching the sea

A firefighter looks over the village of Masca, Tenerife, where the search for missing British teenager Jay Slater continues
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

A fresh search effort has been initiated for Jay Slater, the 19-year-old from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, who vanished after trying to trek back to his lodgings on June 17 in Tenerife.

Spanish authorities have called upon skilled volunteers this Saturday to join a "busqueda masiva" a massive hunt in the village of Masca, close to where Jay was last seen. The Guardia Civil is seeking assistance from volunteer groups and individuals adept at navigating challenging landscapes, as the search extends into its 13th day.

Brigadier Cipriano Martin, head of the mountain rescue team, emphasised that Jay would not have ventured into areas they haven't searched, advising caution to those joining the search. In a statement translated for the BBC, Brigadier Martin said: "There are difficult areas and we've given instructions for people not to risk their own safety."

READ MORE: Jay Slater 'jumped by three mystery men' as gang beating emerges

"But there's something we need to make clear, which is any area we don't go to, well, Jay won't have gone there either. You have to think about it logically if I see there's vegetation in front of me and I'm going to get spiked, and I can't get through, then he won't have gone through that area either."

"We have to be logical, obviously."

The search leader was asked about whether the sea was accessible from the search area responded, "You can reach the sea, in fact last Saturday I went along the whole path there are old paths which are only occasionally used because it's a cliff with very little attraction for sporting purposes."

He added, "But you can reach the beach along them, so I reached the beach."

"We didn't find anything. It's a path that goes above and not along the bottom of the cliff, it has drops, and what's needed are ropes to get down and we also know he was not equipped for that."

"There are rocky drops that you cannot get beyond, you can only get down with a harness and ropes the people searching that spot today will have to turn around I think, because they don't have the necessary equipment, and anyway the best that Jay could do was simply to walk."

It is known that Mr Slater had attended the NRG music festival on the island with two friends before his disappearance. His last registered destination was the Rural de Teno Park in the north of the island which was an ambitiously 11-hour foot journey from where he was staying.

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Reports suggest that he had somehow managed to commute to an Airbnb property located in Masca. Today it emerged the two men, who were thought to have rented the Airbnb, are not considered relevant to the mystery surrounding Mr Slater's whereabouts.

Recalling the last time they spoke, Mr Slater's friend Brad Hargreaves reminisced about their video call during ITV's This Morning before his friend mysteriously dropped off radar, when he overheard him veering off course.

He recounted: "He was on the phone walking down a road and he'd gone over a little bit not a big drop but a tiny little drop and he was going down, and he said 'I'll ring ya back, I'll ring ya back' because I think someone else was ringing him."

He clarified that he could see his mate's feet were "sliding" down the incline and could tell by the sound that he was walking on gravel.

Mr Hargreaves noted that at this moment, both of them were having a laugh about the situation.

He went on to say: "He didn't seem concerned on the phone until we knew how far away he was."

His message to the programme still held hope for Mr Slater and he was "praying" for his safe return.

Earlier in the week, his mother Debbie Duncan, who rushed to the island following his disappearance, stated that donations gathered online will be channelled towards supporting mountain rescue teams, along with covering her own lodging and food expenses.

An outpouring of donations followed after a GoFundMe appeal named "Get Jay Slater home", organised by Lucy Law, his friend and the last person he spoke to, raised more than £40,000 by Friday.

In a recent update, Ms Duncan relayed: "We are currently working with GoFundMe to withdraw part of the funds, which are being safely held."

"I wanted to share that these funds will be used to support the mountain rescue teams who are tirelessly searching for Jay."

"Additionally, since our stay in Tenerife needs to be extended, we will also use the funds to cover accommodation and food expenses."

Ms Law shared how a panicked call from Mr Slater before his disappearance indicated that he was "lost in the mountains, he wasn't aware of his surroundings, he desperately needed a drink and his phone was on 1%".

Since then, an extensive search operation has been conducted by the Guardia Civil across the mountainous terrains of the island, employing helicopters, drones, and canine units, yet there has been no sign of the young man as of yet.

In reference to her son's disappearance and the gut-wrenching wait for any news, Ms Duncan refers to it as a "living nightmare".