Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Helicopter joins search for missing St Andrews student

Duncan Sim Image copyright Duncan Sim
Image caption Duncan Sim has not been seen for almost five days

Police have deployed a helicopter in the search for a missing university student.

Duncan Sim, 19, disappeared on a night out with friends at the University of St Andrews last Wednesday.

He was last seen leaving an event at Madras Rugby Club at about 23:15 and failed to make it to the next venue with the group.

Hundreds of people, including many from his hometown Duns, have been helping to search local areas over the weekend.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Duncan Sim disappeared while on a night out with friends

Police have released a CCTV image of the first year chemistry student taken shortly before he was last seen.

Friends say his disappearance of is completely out of character.

Police were called after he failed to arrive back at his accommodation at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

He has failed to make contact with anyone since this time.

Captain of University of St Andrews Rugby Club Ben Peddie has led the volunteer search.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Duncan Sim is described by friends as "extremely outgoing and intelligent.

He said "Our holiday started on Friday but people delayed their journeys home just so they can help.

"We've had huge number of Duncan's community from the Borders coming up to help too.

"Hundreds of us have been searching open land, farm land, verges. We went seven miles out of town and back in and had about 200 people out helping with the efforts."

Image copyright Facebook/Search party
Image caption Friends are using leaflets door-to-door to get the word out

The friends are now distributing flyers in St Andrews and neighbouring towns in a bid to find out what happened to Duncan.

Ben said: "It's the not knowing, nobody has any idea about what has happened which is the difficult part to deal with.

"The sooner we have some concrete information or conclusion it will be a bit better to deal with."

Hundreds of friends and volunteers are waiting for the word from police to rejoin the search.

Ben said: "We are making sure we are here for everyone who is wondering where Duncan is. We've got groups looking after each other really.

"We are using Madras clubhouse as a hub for people who want to come in and have a chat. Businesses and the university have been very great in providing food and drinks for us."

Duncan is described as 6ft tall and of medium build.

He has brown hair and green eyes, and when he was last seen he was wearing a grey suit jacket, a white shirt and a blue and white tie.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Students are meeting at Madras Rugby Club to coordinate searching

Sgt Sharon Holmes of Police Scotland said: "We are growing increasingly concerned for Duncan's welfare and are eager to trace him as soon as possible.

"I would urge anyone who may have seen Duncan, or a man matching his description, to contact us immediately."

Sally Mapstone, principal of the University of St Andrews, released a statement about the efforts made by the search volunteers.

She said: "It is a remarkable and heart-warming community effort, and at another time we will want to recognise everyone who has been involved and the sheer scale of the work they have undertaken.

"For now, our focus remains firmly on the search for Duncan, and as I write there is the sound of a helicopter overhead again and search teams are continuing their work."

Ms Mapstone said the missing man's parents Sheila and Gordon Sim were staying in the university while the search continued.

She added: "It is difficult to imagine how awful this must be for them, and for all those who are close to Duncan, and I know that everyone who has met them in recent days has been struck by the courage and dignity of the family."

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