Desperate hunt for Briton, 52, who disappeared while jogging on holiday in Madeira amid friends pray for a ‘Christmas miracle’

A desperate search has been launched for a British elite runner who disappeared while jogging on holiday in Madeira three days ago.

Friends and colleagues of Darren Kay, 52, said they are hoping for a “Christmas miracle” after he was last seen on the island on Sunday afternoon.

Darren Kay was last seen jogging on Sunday afternoon


Darren Kay was last seen jogging on Sunday afternoonCredit: Delivered
Darren's family has now flown to the island to help find him


Darren’s family has now flown to the island to help find himPhoto credit: SWNS

Darren, from Sedbergh in Cumbria, disappeared after leaving for a run with his partner Victoria.

He told her he would jog alone for 30 more minutes while she went home – but he never returned to her Airbnb.

A land and sea search involving firefighters and police launched on Sunday was hampered by bad weather.

Darren’s family has now flown to the island to help locate the runner who previously represented England in the prestigious Snowdon International Mountain Race.

Darren had reportedly walked between Faja do Mar and Madalena do Mar – a route described as “dangerous” in places by visitors who walked it.

A police spokesman told reporters on Wednesday: “From Sunday to date all search efforts have been unsuccessful and it has not been possible to locate the missing person.

“The search for land was made considerably more difficult by the often unfavorable weather conditions.”

Darren’s employers J&E Hall International have urged people to help locate the Brit.

“We reach out to all of our business colleagues and friends,” they said.

“Darren Kay, service technician at our service center in Manchester, has disappeared while on holiday in Madeira.

“Darren is an experienced mountain runner and was out near the town of Calheta on Sunday afternoon but never returned from his run.

“Please share in hopes someone has information that might help.”

Colleague Tess Elm added: “As a member of the JE Hall team in the Manchester office, we are devastated by this news and are hoping for a Christmas miracle.

“We would all look for Madeira if it were possible.

“Thinking of Darren’s family and friends and in particular his brother Andy Kay who works in the Manchester office and went out to help find him.

“At this deeply worrying time, we are all hoping for good news.”

Search teams fear Darren may have been washed out to sea by a wave.

But sports photographer Dave Woodhead, 64, who has known Darren for years, said he hoped his experience would help him when he was in trouble.

He said: “To be honest I’ve known Darren for years. When I used to run, he was always there. He ran for our local club. I’ve known Victoria since she was ten.

“In a way it would be more concerning if I went missing because I’m not as fit as Darren.

“Darren has run in English Championship races. He ran in terrible weather.

“He’s so experienced that if something happens, he knows what to do.”

But he added: “The other side of that is you worry something might have happened because he’s so experienced.

“What if it’s an unusual accident? There are many hollows and ravines there.

“If he fell in a ravine and broke his arm, he could stay there for four to five days. But I have no idea what happened.”

According to Madeira newspaper Diario de Noticias, Darren and his partner were on their sixth holiday on the island.

His family is said to have traveled to Madeira on Monday.

The UK Foreign Office has confirmed it is supporting the family of a missing Briton in Madeira.

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In the last 18 months, three tourists have disappeared on the island and have yet to be found.

Polish national Michael Kozek and French national Benoit Way, both 35, and German Jascha Hardenberg, 28, have all been reported missing. Desperate hunt for Briton, 52, who disappeared while jogging on holiday in Madeira amid friends pray for a ‘Christmas miracle’


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