Jay Slater: Search for missing Brit focuses on village

A Guardia Civil officer peering into a ravine with binoculars
Officers from the Spanish Guardia Civil and mountain rescue teams have been focusing the search for Jay Slater on a ravine [Reuters]

The search for a British teenager who went missing after a night out in Tenerife has entered its fifth day with rescue teams and police focusing on a rural village and a valley below it.

Despite extensive search efforts involving drones, dogs and a helicopter, no trace of Jay Slater has been found.

The 19-year-old, from Oswaldtwistle in Lancashire, was last heard from when he called a friend shortly before 09:00 BST on Monday.

His last known location was on a path in the mountainous terrain of the Rural de Teno national park on the north-west of the island.

Jay Slater
Jay Slater has not been heard from since 09:00 BST on Monday [Handout]

Mr Slater's friends and family said he got into a car with two men he met while on holiday and left the group he travelled with in the tourist hotspot of Playa de las Americas, in southern Tenerife.

The search teams appear to be methodically searching along a mountain road and have focused on a ravine, before moving to a valley in the village of Masca.

Dog teams have spent much of the day working an area near farm buildings.

Police and mountain rescue officials have been seen examining a steep area behind the apartment Mr Slater had reportedly been driven to.

They carefully combed through dead palm trees covering a river at the bottom of the hillside near to the property.

Investigators have been taking away bags of rubbish from the area to try and find any clues, but have not had any leads so far.

The apartment owner told reporters she saw Mr Slater walk up the road past her property but did not see him again after that - describing the situation as "worrying".

The BnB in the village of Masca where Jay Slater travelled the morning he was last seen
The house in the village of Masca where Jay Slater travelled to in the early hours of the morning he was last seen [BBC]

The apprentice bricklayer was on his first holiday without his parents and was attending the NRG music festival with two friends.

Lucy Law, who was the last person to speak to him, said he told her in their call that he had missed a bus and decided to walk the 10-hour journey home but was lost, needed water and his phone was on 1% battery.

The Rural de Teno is about a 40-minute drive from where Mr Slater and his friends were staying.

A remote and wild national park, it is a world away from Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas, the party town holiday resorts of the island’s south coast.

Deep ravines and huge daunting mountains make the national park a difficult place for the Spanish search teams to navigate.

At night, the countryside becomes a maze, pitch black and disorientating.

Several Guardia Civil officers in the Masca ravine
Police are focusing on a rural village and a valley below it [Reuters]
Map of area showing Jay Slater's movements around Tenerife
Map of area showing Jay Slater's movements around Tenerife [BBC]

On Thursday, Ms Law had called for British police to join the search in the Canary islands.

In a statement released earlier, Lancashire Police said it had "made an offer of support to the Guardia Civil to see if they need any additional resources", but it had confirmed "at this time they are satisfied that they have the resources they need".

"Our thoughts remain with Jay's family and friends at this distressing time," it added.

In Mr Slater's home town in Lancashire, people have been placing blue ribbons on buildings in support of Mr Slater and his family and a prayer service was held on Thursday night at West End Methodist Church.

His friend Callum Thorpe, who has known him since primary school, said initially he thought Mr Slater had simply "been to an afterparty" and not turned up.

However, he said that as time has gone by, it had "got more serious and it's getting a bit scary now".

"I followed it on social media and Facebook... and it's getting more and more worrying now," he said.

"We all just want the best and find out what we can."

Blue ribbons outside West End Methodist church in Jay Slater's home town of Oswaldtwistle
Blue ribbons outside West End Methodist church in Jay Slater's home town of Oswaldtwistle [BBC]

He said the ribbons were in place to represent Mr Slater and "turn his home town blue".

"We just want him home, that's all we want," he added.

A post in a Facebook group set up by Mr Slater's friends, which now has more than 450,000 members, said the search had left them "drained beyond words".

Rachel Louise Harg wrote that she was "struggling to find words" on Thursday night, but added: "All I can say is we are looking still and everyone is doing all they can."

She said she was in a "living nightmare", but searches were continuing "and we remain positive".

But later Ms Harg told followers they had to stop posting in the group as too many "conspiracy theories" were "affecting the case".

The British owner of a Tenerife car rental company said the community had been "rallying around", and he had made 10 cars available on the island for people helping with the search.

Andrew Knight moved to the island from Liverpool 10 years ago and said he felt compelled to help as it was in his "nature" and "just the way Tenerife is as a community".

On Tuesday, Mr Slater's mother Debbie Duncan and older brother Zak Slater flew to the island to join the search.

On Wednesday, the Guardia Civil in Tenerife moved the search area to the south of the island, around Los Cristianos, based on a tip-off.

However, a spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that the information had been "discounted" and the search was relocated back to the north of the island.

Lancashire Police said it was supporting the family and liaising with the British Embassy but had not deployed officers to the island or interviewed any witnesses.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Law said Mr Slater had "got shorts and t-shirt on", but had "no suncream, he’s got no water, he’s got no coat".

"He’s not prepared for any of the weathers up here. It’s not safe," she said.

"He’s never been up here before, it would be so easy for him to get lost."

Ms Law has called for the British police to assist with the investigation, so "we can bring him home to his family".

"That is all that we want, all that we need," she said.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who has been reported missing in Spain and are in contact with the local authorities."

What we know so far

  • Sunday 16 June - Jay Slater and friends attend final day of the NRG music festival at Papagayo night club in the tourist hotspot of Playa de las Americas

  • Monday 17 June - Between 03:00 and 06:00 BST Mr Slater got into a car with two men he had met during the holiday and left Playa de las Americas

  • 07:30 - Mr Slater posts a photograph on his Snapchat account showing him at the doorway of a property, tagged with the location Parque Rural de Teno

  • Between 08:30 and 09:00 - Mr Slater calls his friend and says he missed a bus back south and was attempting to walk the 10-hour journey

  • The call cuts out, with his phone's last location showing a path in the mountainous Rural de Teno national park, popular with hikers

  • Tuesday 18 June - Despite his friends searching the area, no sign of Mr Slater emerges and he does not return to his accommodation

  • Local police and mountain rescue teams begin searching and his mother and brother board a flight to Tenerife

  • Wednesday 19 June - The Spanish Guardia Civil continue the search using drones, dogs and a helicopter but no trace is found

  • The search is briefly moved to the Los Cristianos area in the south of the island due to a potential sighting, but police quickly "discount" that lead and move the search back to the original area.

  • Thursday 20 June - The Guardia Civil, mountain rescue, firefighters and volunteers return to scour the national park

Listen to the best of BBC Radio Lancashire on Sounds and follow BBC Lancashire on Facebook, X and Instagram. You can also send story ideas to northwest.newsonline@bbc.co.uk

More on this story