x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UK divers search Port Rashid for missing seaman MacColl

Police investigate possibility that he fell near his ship's berth.

DUBAI // Divers from the British navy have taken part in the search for their missing sailor Timmy MacColl, who went missing five weeks ago after a night out in Dubai.

A spokesman for the Royal Navy confirmed British divers have been helping Dubai Police, who are leading the hunt.

The divers were reported to have been searching the waters around Port Rashid, where Leading Seaman MacColl's ship, HMS Westminster, was docked when he vanished. It is thought he may have fallen into the water while returning to the ship.

"The Royal Navy continues to provide as much assistance as it can," said the spokesman. "That has included giving diving support."

The divers were not, as earlier reported, from the minesweeper HMS Middleton, but from other units.

Mr MacColl's family have been informed about the latest developments in the investigation.

"We are aware that navy divers are assisting the Dubai Police and have been made aware of the various lines of inquiry the Dubai Police are conducting," said Neil Cunningham, the uncle of Mr MacColl's pregnant wife, Rachael.

Mr MacColl, 27, a father of two from Gosport in Hampshire, was last seen catching a taxi outside the Rock Bottom Cafe in Bur Dubai just after 2am on May 27.

Friends paid the fare in advance and asked the driver to take him back to his ship, but he never arrived.

HMS Westminster, a frigate, berthed in Dubai on May 26 and left five days later.

Mrs MacColl, 25, visited Dubai with relatives last month. Sheena MacColl and Colin MacColl, the seaman's mother and uncle, took part in a candlelight vigil at Umm Suqeim beach.

Mr Cunningham, a policeman in the UK, said family members were considering another visit to Dubai.

"We are anxiously waiting for updates from the Dubai authorities and will consider in the next few days whether to return to Dubai in the not-too-distant future," he said.

Mrs MacColl is due to give birth to the couple's third child in October. Their two children, aged 4 and 6, were told their father was missing two weeks after he disappeared.

The family has set up a website, bringtimmyhome.co.uk, and a Bring Timmy Home Facebook page has more than 116,000 members.

csimpson@thenational.ae

Anyone with information about Mr MacColl should call Dubai Police headquarters on 04 222 9222, or Al Rafa police station on 04 393 7777, quoting case number 71802012.