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Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

Malaysia

Huntley is probably injured, says search and rescue specialist

The Star/ANN | G. Surach | Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

Briton Gareth Huntley

PETALING JAYA - In all likelihood, Briton Gareth Huntley should not have gone missing for long unless he was injured while trekking to the Lubuk Teja waterfalls in Tioman.

Search and rescue specialist Major (Rtd) Murali Bhaskaran said based on his own experience in Tioman, Huntley could not have simply gone missing as there were other pathways leading to the beach which he should have easily encountered.

"There is a road which is roughly alongside the jungle trek from Kampung Tekek to Kampung Juara. If he is lost or disorientated, he could have easily stumbled upon that dirt road," he said.

Huntley, said Murali, could have lost his way and was trying to find his way back when he slipped and possibly injured himself, preventing him from moving freely.

"Although it is a small island, the jungle is dense and parts of the trek can become slippery if weather conditions are bad," he said.

He said that despite being missing since May 27, the 34-year-old could survive in the jungle as long as there was fresh water supply and food source nearby.

"From what I have been following on the media, he was last known to have headed towards the Lubuk Teja waterfalls, which is a freshwater source. The island is abundant with various fresh water sources," said the retired Royal Air Force veteran, who runs a search and rescue firm,

Murali advised trekkers who chose to hike alone to always be well equipped and carry a personal locator beacon.

Kampung Juara village head Ab Razib Ali Awang said the 8km trek to Lubuk Teja waterfalls was not difficult but hikers had gotten lost there before.

"Most hikers who started their trek at the wrong time such as late afternoon would end their two-and-half-hour journey in the dark. They are the ones who often got lost."

"However, most of the time, local guides familiar with the area can find them easily," he said.

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