Huge search begins in Tenerife for Jay Slater after call for volunteers

Huge search begins in Tenerife for Jay Slater after call for volunteers

A large-scale search operation was launched on Saturday for Jay Slater, the 19-year-old from Lancashire who vanished in Tenerife nearly two weeks ago.

Spanish authorities have issued an urgent appeal for expert volunteers to join the hunt for the teenager from Oswaldtwistle, who disappeared on 17 June after attempting to walk back to his holiday accommodation.

The Guardia Civil, Spain's national police force, is calling for volunteer associations, including firefighters, and individuals with expertise in navigating rugged terrain to participate in what they term a "busqueda masiva" - a massive search effort.

The operation will kick off at 9am in the village of Masca, close to where Jay was last seen. Search teams will comb through a challenging area characterised by steep rocky terrain, deep ravines, and winding trails and paths.

This renewed push comes as concern grows for the young Briton's welfare, with his family desperately hoping for a breakthrough in the case.

It marks the 13th day in the search for the apprentice bricklayer.

Mr Slater attended the NRG music festival on the island with two friends before his disappearance and his last known location was the Rural de Teno Park in the north of the island – which was about an 11-hour walk from his accommodation.

On Friday, Mr Slater’s friend Brad Hargreaves 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.

However, Mr Hargreaves 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 Mr Slater 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.

Donations flooded in after GoFundMe appeal “Get Jay Slater home” was set up by Lucy Law, his friend and the last person to speak to him, and by Friday more than £40,000 had been raised.

In an update on Thursday, Ms Duncan said: “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 said Mr Slater told her in a frantic phone call before he went missing 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%”.

Search teams, co-ordinated by the Guardia Civil, have since mounted a huge manhunt using helicopters, drones and search dogs to scour mountainous areas of the island, but are yet to find the teenager.

Ms Duncan has described her son’s disappearance and the wait for news as a “living nightmare”.