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25th Jun 2024

Missing British man who was discovered by police searching for Jay Slater says he ‘didn’t need rescuing’

Nina McLaughlin

‘I don’t want to appear ungrateful, but I was fine’

A man who was discovered by police who were searching for missing teenager Jay Slater has spoken out and claimed that he ‘didn’t need rescuing’.

Search teams in a barren park near to where the missing teenager was last seen ended up finding a Scottish hiker who they believed had got lost in the area’s mountainous terrain.

The 51-year-old, who has been named as Dacid Larkin, was found by police on Friday, via Mail Online.

Police said he had gone into a “difficult” area that is not “suitable for travel”.

When the hiker didn’t return to his start point after several hours, locals told teams who were already in the area as part of their search efforts to find Slater.

They broke off from their hunt for Slater and managed to locate the hiker at the Asomada Gorge.

The 51-year-old hiker was found near the Los Carrizales neighbourhood, pictured (Google)

A spokesman for local police said: “Officers acting alongside a Civil Protection mountain rescue team have helped rescue a Scottish hiker aged 51 in the Asomada Gorge in the Los Carrizales neighbourhood. Local residents saw how the hiker went into an area of difficult access which was not suitable for transit early in the morning and had yet to return to his starting point several hours later.

“They alerted officers who were at that moment involved in the search for young Jay Slater. He was found tired and disorientated by the officers and the rescue team who helped him out of the gorge.”

However, speaking to Mail Online, Larkin claimed that he did not need to be helped out of the gorge.

“I can tell you now; I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t disoriented, and I didn’t need rescuing,” he said.

“I think there was a lot lost in translation when they saw him and I explained to them I had water, I was wearing layers, I had my rucksack with food and I’m an experienced hiker.

“I went into the canyon and I saw the helicopters looking and thought they were looking for the lad but I didn’t for one minute think they would end up picking me up.

“I think they want to show how good they are, but I certainly didn’t saving. I feel so sorry for the boy’s family and hope he’s found soon.”

He added: “I’m actually embarrassed about this, I had my poles and I know what I’m doing and I knew that if it could get windy I would take shelter in a cave.

“I know these trails, I’ve been coming here for years, so I know what I’m doing.”

He went on to say that you ‘have to treat Tenerife with respect’, as it can be isolated. However, he insisted that he was not lost.

“The mountain rescue people took my picture and then dropped me off, and I’m very grateful but I didn’t need helping and to be honest it extended my day,” he said.

“I did go in through a difficult path, and the trail isn’t that well marked but I do know the way, I managed it and when they came towards me I did explain I was ok.

“It should have been a two-hour trail and I left just after lunch but didn’t get back until nearly 7pm because they took me the long way.”

Larkin says that he hikes for solitude, and found it uncomfortable when the rescuers began to walking at a speedier pace than he would have liked.

“Like I said I had all the equipment and I think the language barrier was an issue and then the penny dropped they were looking for the missing boy,” he continued.

“I don’t want to appear ungrateful, and I thanked them for their concern but I was fine.”

Jay Slater’s family and friends have shared this poster. On the right handside is his last known location, according to his phone.

For more than a week now, a huge search operation has been underway in the north-west of Tenerife for Slater, a 19-year-old who went missing last Monday (June 17).

He had travelled there with friends for the NRG music festival, in the tourist hotspot of Playa de las Americas, on the south of the island.

After leaving the festival at Papagayo night club on Sunday, the apprentice bricklayer got in a car with two men he had met to drive to the northwestern mountain village of Masca in the Rural de Teno national park. This was a 40-minute drive away from his accommodation.

He was last heard from at around 08:00 BST on Monday when he phoned his friend Lucy Law, telling her he had missed a bus and had tried to walk the 10-hour journey but was lost.

He said he needed water and only had one per cent battery left on his phone.

His phone then cut off, and his last known location was shown as the national park.

Rescue efforts have centred on the Rural de Teno Park, situated on the other side of Tenerife to where Slater and his friends were staying.

The park is mountainous, remote, and is made up of deep ravines and daunting mountains. Slater’s friends initially tried to search the area on Tuesday June 18, with local police and mountain rescue teams then joining the efforts.

Search dogs, drones and a helicopter have also been used, whilst Slater’s family have flown to the island to help the search.

The search was temporarily moved to the Los Cristianos area on the south of the island on Wednesday due to a potential lead, however efforts have returned to the north-west and Masca.

On Sunday, police examined outbuildings at the bottom of a ravine in Rural de Teno, close to where his phone last pinged. Searchers could be seen looking into blue barrels outside one of these buildings, Sky News reports.

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