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John Noakes found after search

Published 30/06/2015

John Noakes (far right with dog Shep) with co-presenters Peter Purves, Lesley Judd and Valerie Singleton
John Noakes (far right with dog Shep) with co-presenters Peter Purves, Lesley Judd and Valerie Singleton

Missing former Blue Peter presenter John Noakes has been found near his home in Majorca after going missing for more than eight hours.

The 81-year-old, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, was found in a storm drain about one kilometre from his home, his wife Vicky said.

Mr Noakes, who is Blue Peter's longest-serving presenter, is being taken to hospital in the city of Palma.

Mrs Noakes said police had told her he did not appear to have any life-threatening injuries.

Police in Andratx on the south west of the Mediterranean island were alerted to his disappearance at around 8am on what has been Spain's hottest day so far this year.

Officers were joined in their searches by friends of the couple and local residents, and Mr Noakes was eventually discovered in an overgrown culvert less than a mile from their home at around 7pm, 6pm British time.

Mrs Noakes, who was on her way to the hospital to be reunited with her husband, said: "I don't know exactly what state he is in but the Guardia said that as far as they could see there were no life threatening injuries.

"They are taking him by helicopter to the main hospital in Palma. He has been out in the sun for at least eight hours so I guess he is probably dehydrated."

Mrs Noakes said search parties had looked in the area where he was eventually discovered earlier in the day but failed to spot him because he was "in the bottom of a storm drain and had fallen in amongst long grass there".

She said that friends who had joined in the hunt passed by the area calling his name but did not see him, and that he may have been unable to respond after suffering the effects of the sun as temperatures reached almost 36C (96.8F).

He was later spotted by a police helicopter and rescued not far from his home.

Mrs Noakes said she was always confident he would be found nearby rather than further away.

She said: "I knew it couldn't be far because he wouldn't have been able to walk that far.

"I would like to say that the emergency services have been really excellent and pulled out all the stops, and they were greatly helped by our friends and local people."

An Andratx local police officer said Mr Noakes was found at 7pm local time by a Civil Guard helicopter.

Six local police staff were involved in the search, along with 10 from the Civil Guard and volunteers from Civil Protection.

The officer said: "He was found to have a weak heartbeat and was dehydrated. It has been very hot day here, with temperatures of around 36C.

"Emergency services took him to Son Espases hospital in Palma and he is expected to recover.

"He was very weak because he has been outside for many hours in the heat, presumably without eating or drinking anything.

"Bear in mind that this gentleman is 81 and suffers from Alzheimer's, which is assumed to have contributed to him going missing."

The former presenter worked on Blue Peter for 12-and-a-half years in the 1960s and 1970s.

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