Jay Slater's mysterious disappearance happened despite development aimed at making area safer, say locals

Jay Slater
-Credit: (Image: Instagram)

Trekking through thick desert shrubbery, down narrow dust trails, sidestepping dangerous cacti and evading potential rock falls from steep cliffs is an endeavour best left to experts. The punishing and relentless landscape of the zone in which Jay Slater vanished can quickly transform into a hazard with just one wrong footstep.

The community in the vicinity of Masca in Tenerife has now said that a safety precaution was built last year - a winding road. This was developed to make the region more secure and essential access more manageable for individuals, they said.

But, even with this safety measure in place on June 17 in the hamlet of Masca, 19-year-old Jay Slater from Lancashire went off the radar in this tough terrain, where his phone was last pinged and he was last spotted. More than two weeks on and there has been no sign of him. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

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The mountain pass created through part of Tenerife -Credit:Stan Kujawa
The mountain pass created through part of Tenerife -Credit:Stan Kujawa

A resident said: "This whole road was built only around a year ago. It was built to make the area safer, to make it easier for people to get in and out of," reports the Mirror. Another local from Masca highlighted the surge in tourists visiting the famous Hilda viewpoint, known for its stunning vistas of Spain's volcanic terrain. This location became the centre of a large-scale search operation as teams combed through the surrounding deep ravines in the hope of finding any trace of Jay.

The area was bustling with people on Saturday, including tourists, police, mountain rescue personnel, and volunteers, all united in what was described as the final push to locate Jay on land. "There are many tourists and many walkers and hikers who come here," the local said, "The road was supposed to make it safer for them, but here we are."

Calle Turon, the road leading to Masca and further to the Hilda viewpoint, is infamous for its treacherous driving conditions, featuring blind hairpin bends, steep inclines and declines, with only bollards as a guard against the sheer drops. Despite these hazards, the road is well-maintained with new tarmac, designated passing places, bus stops for residents, and is essential for both villagers and tourists, with buses packed with visitors regularly making their way to the viewpoint. The Airbnb Jay had booked prior to vanishing is located just off the road.

The Civil Guard in Tenerife, who have been leading the search for the teenager, announced on Sunday (June 30) that they were suspending their active search efforts, after using sniffer dogs, helicopters and mountain rescue experts since June 17 when the apprentice bricklayer was reported missing. But the Civil Guard said any new leads or information would still be acted upon.

Currently, investigators do not suspect foul play in Jay's disappearance, and there is no evidence linking the two individuals who shared an Airbnb with Jay the night before his disappearance to his vanishing. The search operation has faced a backlash from volunteers who have been braving harsh mountainside conditions to aid in trying to find Jay.

Tik Tok influencer Paul Arnott
Tik Tok influencer Paul Arnott who has vowed to continue searching for Jay Slater -Credit:Stan Kujawa

Among them is climber and popular TikTok creator Paul Arnott, from Bedfordshire, who said he 'came straight out' after witnessing the desperate pleas for help from Jay's family following his disappearance. Paul, 29, flew to Tenerife to help the search for Jay. He shared a TikTok video on Saturday, labelling the final substantial search as a "massive PR thing", prior to actions being suddenly stopped the subsequent day and has committed to carry on the search solo.

In an emoitional message after the ground search was halted Jay's mum Debbie Duncan appealed to the police not to halt their efforts looking for her younger son. She said all she could wish for was that 'the world will keep watching'.