Walker Margaret Holt missing in Canary Islands

A search is under way for a British pensioner who went missing during a hiking trip in the Canary Islands.

Margaret Holt, 65, from Wirral, Merseyside, was last seen in Lanzarote on 23 December.

Her family contacted the Spanish Civil Guard after she failed to make contact over Christmas.

They are now in the country helping the search operation, which involves a dog team, rescue helicopters and volunteers.

Mobile not working

Mrs Holt's daughter-in-law, Clare Riley, appealed on Facebook for information about her whereabouts. She said: "She is a very fit woman who thinks nothing of walking 20 miles per day. She loves coastal paths.

"We have her passport, cards etc from her room so know she only intended to go for a walk.

"Her mobile phone is with her but not working. We really believe she had a fall walking."

Mrs Holt was seen leaving her hotel in the resort of Costa Teguise on the morning of 23 December wearing a light pink vest, khaki shorts, walking sandals and a drawstring bag.

She was spotted later in the afternoon in the northerly Orzola region of the island but has not been seen since.

Djek Deign, manager of UK Away FM, an English language radio station on Lanzarote, said: "Her family found a guide to Lanzarote in her room with marked pages, indicating that she was going to go hiking in the north of the island, which is where they are searching.

"The north is a peninsula that comes off the island and is about 10 miles (16km) long and has cliffs on one side with a drop of about 1,000m (3,280ft) in some places. We are talking very rugged terrain with ravines and rocks.

"But the area is not particularly overgrown so it's not too difficult to pick things up."

Unconfirmed sightings

Mr Deign said Mrs Holt was believed to be staying on the island by herself and that members of her family, including her son, Ben, had flown out to aid with the search.

He said there had been a number of unconfirmed sightings of the pensioner, including one in a cafe near the bus stop in the capital of Arrecife and another in the Fire Mountains.

The Foreign Office confirmed it had been informed about the disappearance.

A spokesman said: "The Spanish authorities are carrying out a search coordinated by the Civil Guard and local emergency services.

"Staff from the British Consulate are in contact with the authorities and the family."

Anyone with any information about Mrs Holt is asked to contact the Spanish authorities.

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