Pictured: British hiker, 51, who was 'rescued' during search for missing Jay Slater as he insists he 'didn't need help'

25 June 2024, 16:34 | Updated: 25 June 2024, 16:36

David Larkin was found while police searched for Jay Slater.
David Larkin was found while police searched for Jay Slater. Picture: Social media

By Emma Soteriou

A 51-year-old hiker who was 'rescued' during the search for missing Jay Slater has insisted that he did not need help.

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David Larkin, 51, was found by Spanish police as they continued their search for missing Jay Slater in Tenerife.

Officers said they rescued a "tired and disorientated" man who they discovered in mountainous terrain.

But Mr Larkin, who considers himself an "experienced" hiker, has said he did not need help.

"I can tell you now; I wasn’t tired and I wasn’t disoriented, and I didn’t need rescuing," he told the Mail.

"I think there was a lot lost in translation when they saw him and I explained to them I had water, I was wearing layers, I had my rucksack with food and I’m an experienced hiker.

"I think they want to show how good they are, but I certainly didn’t need saving.

"I feel so sorry for the boy’s family and hope he’s found soon."

Read more: Jay Slater detectives find different missing Briton while searching Tenerife gorge

Read more: Jay Slater's employer says 'picture being painted' of British teen is 'just not true' as hunt continues in Tenerife

Mr Larkin, who is originally from Northern Ireland, said he was actually "embarrassed" by the situation.

"I had my poles and I know what I'm doing and I knew that if it could get windy I would take shelter in a cave," he said.

"I know these trails, I've been coming here for years, so I know what I'm doing."

David Larkin
David Larkin. Picture: Social media

Police initially said in an online post: "Locals observed how said hiker entered very early into an area of ​​difficult access not suitable for travel and after several hours passed without him returning to the starting point, they alerted the agents who were at that time in the search for missing young man, Jay Slater.

"Tired and disoriented, he was located by the agents and the rescue team who helped him get out of the ravine."

Explaining what happened once authorities found him, Mr Larkin said: "The mountain rescue people took my picture and then dropped me off, and I'm very grateful but I didn't need helping and to be honest it extended my day.

"I did go in through a difficult path, and the trail isn't that well marked but I do know the way, I managed it and when they came towards me I did explain I was ok."

He said he was unable to return home until nearly 7pm after being taken to safety "the long way".

He added: "I don't want to appear ungrateful, and I thanked them for their concern but I was fine."

Jay Slater who has been missing for more than a week
Jay Slater who has been missing for more than a week. Picture: alamy

Drones, sniffers dogs and helicopters have been searching the Rural de Teno National Park and its surroundings in northern Tenerife since 19-year-old Jay Slater vanished more than a week ago.

Much of the hunt has been focused on the 2,000ft ravine. It is where his phone last pinged a nearby cell tower at 8.50am on June 17.

Apprentice bricklayer Jay, from Lancashire, headed to Masca with two British men at the end of a three-day rave he flew to Tenerife to attend.

Jay told his friend he was lost in the middle of nowhere with no water and had just one per cent battery on his phone.

When she told him to return to where he had walked from, he said he did not know where that was.

He sounded disorientated and explained that he was "in the middle of mountains" with "nothing around".

Jay's friends have hit out at Spanish police for “not doing a good enough job” in the search for him.

But officers have said they are "totally focused" on tracking the 19-year-old down and will continue to prioritise that, despite facing criticism.

It comes after Lancashire Police said they had offered to help out but were rejected.

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