Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Search continues for missing woman

Margaret Holt went missing during a hiking trip to Lanzarote

A British pensioner who vanished during a trip to Lanzarote remains missing as search teams prepared to continue their hunt.

Fears are growing for the welfare of Margaret Holt, 65, from the Wirral, who was last seen on the Canary Island on December 23.

Her worried family contacted the Spanish Civil Guard to raise the alarm after she failed to make contact with them over Christmas. They are now in the country helping the large-scale search operation which has seen a dog team, rescue helicopters and volunteers join the hunt.

Djek Deign, manager of UK Away FM, an English language radio station on Lanzarote, said: "Her family found an Amazon guide to Lanzarote in her room with marked pages, indicating that she was going to go hiking in the north of the island, which is where they are searching.

"The north is a peninsula that comes off the island and is about 10 miles long and has cliffs on one side with a drop of about 1,000m (3,281ft) in some places. We are talking very rugged terrain with ravines and rocks. But the area is not particularly overgrown so it's not too difficult to pick things up."

He said they started searching the north of the island on December 26 and would return to the area so they "can say for 100% she is not there".

Clare Riley, Mrs Holt's daughter-in-law, was quoted on a Facebook page appealing for information about her whereabouts. Her message said: "She is a very fit woman who thinks nothing of walking 20 miles per day. She loves coastal paths. We have her passport, cards etc from her room so know she only intended to go for a walk. Her mobile phone is with her but not working. We really believe she had a fall walking."

Mrs Holt was seen leaving her hotel in the resort of Costa Teguise on the morning of December 23 wearing a light pink vest, khaki shorts, walking sandals and a drawstring bag. She was spotted later in the afternoon in the northerly Orzola region of the island but has not been seen since.

Mr Deign said she was believed to be staying on the island by herself, and members of her family, including her son, Ben, have flown out to aid with the search. He said: "I have not spoken to the family but I am pretty sure they are quite desperate. The not knowing is the worst part of it."

He added that there had been a number of unconfirmed sightings of the pensioner, including one in a cafe near the bus stop in the capital of Arrecife and another in the Fire Mountains.