'Massive' Jay Slater search sees just six volunteers join with Tenerife police

Members of a search and rescue team search near the last known location of Jay Slater, near to the village of Masca, Tenerife, where the search for missing British teenager from Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, continues
-Credit: (Image: James Manning/PA Wire)

An appeal for help in the search for missing Jay Slater from Spanish police led to just six volunteers, including a British TikToker, joining the operation.

Jay, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, went missing in the North West of Tenerife on June 17. It was hoped that a renewed effort to locate the 19-year-old would provide answers.

Despite the publicity about the search, there has been little uptake in the local media and only six volunteers turned up to help with nearly 30 professional searchers, including police, fire and mountain rescue officers, as the operation enters its 13th day, reports the Mirror.

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Asked about the underwhelming turnout, Cipriano Martin, head of the Civil Guard’s Greim mountain rescue unit, said: "Well, we’ve been searching for lots of days and with the search today, we’re talking about 30 people.”

On Friday, the Guardia Civil appealed for volunteer associations, such as firefighters, and individual volunteers who were experts in rugged terrain to assist in a busqueda masiva”, or massive search search, to take place on Saturday. The Spanish police force said the search, beginning in the village of Masca, near to his last-known location, would be co-ordinated to take in a steep rocky area, including ravines, trails and paths.

Jay is known to have spent the night in an Airbnb in Masca in the Teno Rural Park after heading there with two men following a rave in the south of the island. He was last seen by the owner of the accommodation after he had enquired about the next bus that would take him back to his friends in southern Tenerife.

He then spoke to friends Lucy Law and Brad Hargreaves by phone to say he was going to try to walk back in a trek that would take around 11 hours.

The search for Jay Slater is ongoing
The search for Jay Slater is ongoing -Credit:No credit

Among those who arrived this morning were a Spanish army reservist, a local mum and British TikToker Paul Arnott, who is in touch with Jay's friends and family, including heartbroken mum Debbie Duncan, 55. Asked about the turnout and accusations of a lack of publicity in the local media, Paul, 29, from Bedfordshire, said: "I think the exposure has been really good.

"I've had loads of people that say they're going to come because they've seen my posts and the police, so personally from my point of view I think it's been brilliant. It's what the family wanted and that's what I'm interested in - helping the family." Asked about Jay's family and if he expects them to join today's search, he said: "They've said I'm doing a good job and I'm making them proud.

"I wouldn't want them to come out here. It's the worst terrain ever. I wouldn't want my family coming out here, no chance. They're broken. I admire them so much for their strength. It's the worst situation any family could be in. It's horrible."

He added: "I've been checking loads of different areas and some days I've been with the police and mountain rescue who have told me where to go to search. We spoke to Brad and we know that Jay has been sliding down the mountains so I'm looking for slide marks. I've got a picture of his shoes on my phone and I'm looking for any breakages in the plant material. Just any evidence that he has been through this way."

Fellow volunteer Livia Karczewski, 40, said she wanted to help because she has a 19-year-old son herself. The experienced hiker heard about the search on Facebook and decided to join in. She said: “I have a son the same age and if something happened to him I would like to think people would come to help find him. It really hits home. I am experienced but not an expert so I will search the paths. It is difficult terrain so you need to be prepared.”

Army reservist Juan Garcia, who has mountain search and rescue experience, said he felt compelled to help after reading Jay’s story in the local newspaper. Juan, 53, who brought his podenco-cross hunting dog Caperucita with him, described the area as “difficult” and like a “labyrinth”.

He said: “This landscape can be very dangerous. I am from the island so we are used to this kind of landscape. If you search maybe we are lucky and we find him. We have to put a lot of effort to look slowly, it is like a labyrinth, there’s a lot of bushes so it’s easy to miss something, especially with the helicopter and drones. That’s why you have to walk and I brought my dog in case he can smell something, but it’s not an easy task.”

On Friday, Jay's friend Brad told ITV’s This Morning he had been on a video call with him before his disappearance when he heard him go off the road. He said: “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 confirmed he could see his friend’s feet “sliding” down the hill and could hear he was walking on gravel. But Brad said he and his friend were both laughing at that point. He added: “He didn’t seem concerned on the phone until we knew how far away he was.”

He told the programme he still had hope for Jay and was “praying” for him to come home. Earlier this week, his mother Debbie Duncan, who travelled to the island following his disappearance, said money raised online would be used to support mountain rescue teams, and to cover her own accommodation and food costs.

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