Glasgow & West Scotland

Scottish botanist Jamie Taggart missing in Vietnam

Jamie Taggart
Image caption Mr Taggart's passport and rucksack were found at his accommodation last month

A Scottish botanist has gone missing while on a plant-hunting trip to a mountainous region of Vietnam.

Jamie Taggart, from the village of Cove in Argyll and Bute, failed to return from the trip last month.

Subsequent inquiries by his family revealed he had not been seen since 2 November, when his rucksack and passport were found at a guest house in the town of Sapa.

Local police and the British embassy in Hanoi have been informed.

Searches of the area, in the north of Vietnam, have been carried out for the 41-year-old.

Mr Taggart, who is also a retained firefighter, runs Linn Botanic Gardens in Cove, on the Rosneath peninsula.

His father Jim Taggart found out his son was missing when he failed to appear on a scheduled flight home to Scotland on 29 November.

Mr Taggart told BBC radio's Good Morning Scotland programme his son had arrived in Vietnam two days before he went missing.

"I had four text messages from him then his mobile phone went dead," he said.

"His last text message said exactly where he was going.

"He was on his own but had been in that part of Vietnam two years previously and knew his way around.

"I don't think he got lost. Either something happened on his first day on the hills or there is some explanation we can only guess at."

Mr Taggart added: "He was found to be missing because he left his rucksack in the guest house he was staying in. When he didn't come back they phoned the police.

"He had left his passport behind. I understand that when travelling in Vietnam you have to have identity. But knowing Jamie, he may have deliberately left it in case he lost it on the hill.

"But two days of searching has produced a completely negative result."

Fire Service

Jamie Taggart serves as a retained firefighter. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service area commander for Argyll and Bute has also commented on the case.

Paul Connelly said: "This is obviously an extremely difficult time for Jamie's family and friends and we can only hope there will be a positive outcome.

"Jamie has served his community as a dedicated and professional firefighter and is a popular member of a very close-knit and highly experienced team at Cove.

"There are a great many people who desperately want to see him return home safe."

The botanist arrived in a guest house in Sapa on 30 October and left on a motorbike taxi to explore the hills.

On 2 November his rucksack and passport were found at the accommodation.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said it was aware that a British national had been reported missing while in the Sapa area of Vietnam.

He added: "We are in close contact with the local authorities and are providing consular assistance to their family at this difficult time."

Prayers were said for Mr Taggart, a retained firefighter, at Craigrownie Church on Sunday.

He took over responsibility for Linn Botanic Gardens from his father in 1997.

In March of this year the attraction was added to Historic Scotland's Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

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