'I believe my son can survive this', says missing Briton's mother

A recent undated handout picture released by the Find Gareth Huntley Campaign on May 31, 2014 shows British man Gareth Huntley who has been missing in Malaysia since going for a solo trek on May 27, 2014 pictured at an unknown location. -- PHOTO: AFP
A recent undated handout picture released by the Find Gareth Huntley Campaign on May 31, 2014 shows British man Gareth Huntley who has been missing in Malaysia since going for a solo trek on May 27, 2014 pictured at an unknown location. -- PHOTO: AFP

PULAU TIOMAN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - "If anyone can survive this, it's going to be Gareth," said the mother of missing British tourist Gareth Huntley.

Ms Janet Southwell, who arrived in Pulau Tioman, with Mr Huntley's father and two friends on Monday morning, said she was hopeful the rescue operation will find her son alive.

"We wanted to find out what has been going on, after getting mixed messages about what's happening here. After seeing all the effort, I feel assured.

"He isn't in a desert, he hasn't got the sun beating down on him. Maybe he might have been injured and can't find his way out. But he has always liked to push himself physically and mentally. I think he would know how to cope.

"When they do find him, I'd think he would like to see his mum," said a weary but cheerful Southwell at the search operations base in Kampung Juara, some 4km from the Lubuk Teja waterfall where Mr Huntley had headed to.

My Huntley was volunteering with a sea turtle conservation programme in Pulau Tioman off the Malaysian state of Pahang when he set off for a solo trek. The 34-year-old outdoor enthusiast had been travelling in South-east Asia and was readying to start work at the Singapore office of London-based insurer RSA after the trip.

Mr Huntley's family had earlier criticised the slow pace of the investigation but was satisfied with the briefing she was given by Rompin police Johari Yahaya on Monday.

She said she was feeling positive and thanked the local police and villagers who had been part of the search team.

Nevertheless, she was still having trouble getting to grips with what has happened.

"I couldn't believe it when I found out that he had gone missing, I just thought it can't be true. It's devastating to think what he might be going through," he said.