Missing Malaysia backpacker Gareth Huntley: Body found

The BBC's Jennifer Pak says a body found on Tioman island has been taken away for identification

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A body has been found in the hunt for a missing British backpacker in Malaysia.

Gareth Huntley, 34, from Cricklewood in north London, went missing while on a trek to a waterfall on Tuesday 27 May.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: "Malaysian police have confirmed that a body has been found on Tioman island in Malaysia."

More than 100 people had been involved in the search for Mr Huntley, but Malaysian authorities were initially criticised over the search effort.

BBC Correspondent Andy Moore said the body was found in a pond near the Juara Turtle project where Mr Huntley was living and working.

He said Malaysian authorities had been searching along the route to the waterfall, but were on their way back when they found a body close to a kayak storage area.

Janet Southwell with her son Gareth Huntley Mr Huntley's mother Janet Southwell flew to Malaysia on Monday
East coast of Tiomen The terrain is said to be very difficult to navigate on foot

Mr Huntley's mother Janet Southwell had earlier said she believed her son had been injured but was still alive.

She arrived in Malaysia on Monday and said she wanted to join the search for her son.

Helicopter search

The UK government said it had been assured "all available search assets" were involved in the hunt, which includes police officers and rescue teams.

Police chief: "We have yet to determine whether the body is Gareth Huntley"

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was in Malaysia on Sunday and was assured by his counterpart that the authorities had deployed significant assets including dogs, boats and a helicopter.

Mr Huntley's brother, Mark, arrived on the island on Monday and said 103 people were involved in the search alongside several helicopters and speedboats.

Johari Jahaya, the man leading the rescue team, had narrowed the hunt after finding clues in the area.

Mr Huntley left on his trek in the morning and told friends at the Juara Turtle Project he would return by 14:00 the same day.

He failed to come back so a group set out to search for him, checking various routes to the waterfall which is 6km away.

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