Highlands & Islands

Mother's fears after Noah's Ark explorer disappears

Donald Mackenzie. Pic by Murdo Maclean
Image caption Donald Mackenzie was last in touch with his family on 30 September

A mother has spoken of her fears for her son who went missing while searching for Noah's Ark in Turkey.

Donald Mackenzie, 47, from Lewis, was reported missing by a friend on 14 October after he failed to return from an expedition on Mount Ararat.

Mr Mackenzie travels to the mountain every year to pursue his passion of searching for the ark.

The Bible identifies the mountains of Ararat as the ark's resting place after the flood.

The traveller was keen to return this year after a Chinese group claimed to have found the remains of the vessel.

'Living on snow'

His mother Margaret Mackenzie said: "He was just 50 metres from it when he was there before and he just wanted to go back.

"He was just determined. Nobody wanted him to go but he wanted to go and you couldn't keep him back.

"He is an adventurer and very resourceful and intrepid."

The Scot, from Stornoway in Lewis, last spoke to his brother on 30 September and his family have not heard from him since.

Image caption The Bible identifies Mount Ararat as the resting place of Noah's Ark following the flood

His mother, also from Stornoway, has contacted her local MSP and said that Interpol had been involved in trying to find out what had happened to Mr Mackenzie.

She said: "He could be in some hole living on snow, you just don't know. I'm clinging on to any little thing.

"In this country they would have planes or helicopters out looking for him but I feel out there maybe they don't want to spend the money, it's such a different country.

"It is a very, very worrying time. I'm very depressed. He is my rock."

Mr Mackenzie became interested in searching for Noah's Ark in his early 40s, and did a variety of jobs to fund his travels.

His mother said he is a Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland member because he believes it sticks closest to the Bible.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm that a British national has been reported missing in Turkey, and local authorities are investigating the reports.

"Staff are in touch with the family and are providing consular assistance."

Mount Ararat is the highest peak in Turkey, at 16,945ft (5,164m) above sea level.

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