TikToker lived off Doritos while scouring Tenerife searching for missing Jay Slater

TikToker lived off Doritos while scouring Tenerife searching for missing Jay Slater

Over the past two weeks, Callum Fahim’s alarm rang at 5am every morning after another sleepless night planning a new route to search for Jay Slater that no one else has touched.

The TikToker and keen hiker, who flew out to Tenerife to help with the hunt after contacting the family, has revealed the challenging conditions helpers have faced as the days turn into weeks since the 19-year-old apprentice bricklayer vanished after a night out on holiday.

Now embroiled in a row over the funding of his personal search, the exhausted social media sleuth spoke to The Independent from his hotel room on the Spanish island.

“The most sleep I’ve had is about two hours because I have to plan all the routes overnight,” he said.

“I haven’t been able to eat properly; I’ve been living off BBQ Doritos and Appletisers.

“I’ve never met the family. I’m just a randomer from London who saw it online and wanted to help.”

A Spanish police officer looks over the village of Masca, Tenerife, during the search for Mr Slater (PA Wire)

He said he had to get out in the mountains early before the sweltering heat took over and made searching impossible with his team of hastily assembled locals and hikers, who claim to know Tenerife like the back of their hands.

British teenager Mr Slater had gone to stay with two people he had met at the NRG music festival and, having missed the bus back on the morning of 17 June, embarked on what would have been an 11-hour walk back to his accommodation.

Asked if searching helped him understand what was going through the missing teenager’s mind, Mr Fahim said: “Truthfully coming up that mountain as you get up further it gets hot, the air gets really thin and you struggle to breathe, then it turns hot then cold then hot again.

“It makes you think you’re really ill – like you have some horrendous fever.

“I don’t think personally without transport or a phone you could make it up here. You go into the middle of it the road vanishes and all you can see is the volcano.

“I would be confused if I didn’t know where I was going. I’m not scared. I always say, ‘I look a little soft but I can handle myself 100%.’”

The hiker and his crew of locals have combed new areas of the rugged cacti-infested terrain that no one has previously searched, such as outhouses, abandoned shelters and ravines some 1km above sea level.

Mr Fahim stumbled across a two-storey outhouse (Callum Fahim)
Mr Fahim FaceTimed Ms Duncan to show her his movements through an unsearched abandoned shelter (Callum Fahim)

But after the Spanish police called off their land search earlier this week, hopes for Mr Slater’s safety have started to diminish.

“We are looking for anything at this point,” Mr Fahim explained.

“At the start, we wanted to bring Jay home in a fit and well state, but obviously as time passes we need to consider all options.

“We are looking for clothes, shoes, the wristbands from the NRG festival. There are so many people missing on Tenerife right now people do not realise.”

On the next steps for the search, he said it could be time to start looking along the inhospitable coastline by boat.

Mr Fahim claimed other influencers have been going back over the same well-trodden paths taking selfies to get likes on social media and make money.

He said: “There are a lot of TikTokers coming down and searching the same routes over and over just for likes. We don’t need to be abseiling down rocks. Jay was probably drunk, possibly injured; he was not going to be abseiling around. People are doing that just for show.”

He attracted international attention when Mr Slater’s mother, Debbie Duncan, named him as one of the people she would be giving some money from the GoFundMe donations to.

Jay Slater pictured with his mother Debbie Duncan (Supplied)

“We are not paid to search, it is all voluntary,” Mr Fahim told The Independent.

“They pay for bits and bobs but we are not paid to do this. I pay my own bus fare – it costs £15 a day just to get to where the search has to start.

“We’ve gone through torrential rain, high winds everything. We do need more people but it is expensive getting here.”

On what kept him searching, he said: “I understand the pain his family are going through. Speaking to his mum directly, she is distraught – she just wants her baby back.

“She is not searching because she can’t bear to go up there. I tell her she needs to take a step back, it’s too raw.”

Like the Slater family, he has not been immune from the avalanche of misinformation and threats since flying out to Tenerife. Mr Fahim said: “My phone number has been leaked. I have received horrendous threats from people all over the world.

“It doesn’t affect me – it is not going to stop me. But the hate is unreal, and I have had people trying to scam me too.”

Writing in a Facebook group dedicated to the search through a friend on Thursday, Ms Duncan addressed speculation over the GoFundMe donations.

She said: “For those of you who are more concerned around the GoFundMe page I can assure you that up to now it has not been used and our stay up to now has been financed by ourselves.

“I do have proof of transactions and transfers to other persons but I should not have to justify this.

“So you can make up your own minds. If any of you in this group have donated I am thankful.”

Source: independent.co.uk