Timmy MacColl's family remain hopeful despite lack of clues
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The family of missing sailor Timmy MacColl remain hopeful that he is still alive after a massive land and sea search around Dubai port where he is thought to have vanished failed to produce clues
The family of missing sailor Timmy MacColl remain hopeful that he is still alive after a massive land and sea search around the Dubai port where he is thought to have vanished failed to produce any clues as to his disappearance, writes Myra Philp.
During a recent visit to the UAE, the Brit’s brave wife Rachael, 25, and mum Sheena, 49, were told by Dubai Police chief, Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim that a taxi driver claimed to have dropped the 27-year-old leading seaman off at Port Rashid.
The two women, accompanied by Timmy’s uncles Colin MacColl and Neil Cunningham, were shown enhanced CCTV footage of Timmy outside of Rock Bottom, in Bur Dubai, recorded minutes before he is thought to have got in a taxi.
Neil Cunningham said: “The taxi driver got lost in the port. It was apparently the first time he had been there. The GPS showed the driver had no idea where he was going.
“We were told that he stopped at a tea shack inside the port at which point Timmy got out.”
Dubai Police divers have searched the vast port for two weeks and were assisted in the last few days by a navy minesweeper, after fears Timmy may have fallen in the water.
However, there was no trace of Timmy during the search.
Cunningham, a police officer based in Hampshire in the UK, added: “The police have been working on a number of scenarios and Timmy falling in the water was just one of them. The fact the search has been concluded and found nothing means there is no information to suggest Timmy is dead.
“We hope that he’s alive somewhere and will be found. We are hoping that the police are continuing to look at the other scenarios and following up other leads.
“We know that the police are already re-visiting witnesses and we totally support everything they are doing.”
It is understood that British Royal Navy investigators met with Dubai CID last week and more detailed statements were handed over from two sailors who claim they put Timmy in a taxi outside the Rock Bottom at about 2am on May 27.
Other personnel on board the British warship, HMS Westminster, have also been quizzed again and their statements have been passed to the investigating team in Dubai.
The Westminster has been on pirate-busting missions, east of Suez in the Indian Ocean. It had a recent stop-off in Bahrain.
Timmy, originally of Killin, Perthshire, had spent his last-known day at the Dubai Seafarers’ Mission where it’s known he consumed two pints of beer before his best friends left him there at about 5pm.
They were going back on duty and Timmy sent back his credit card with them.
He eventually left the Mission at about 11.30pm and headed for Rock Bottom.
There, bouncers say they took him out of the busy club because he fell asleep in front of the bar.
Two colleagues then claim they paid the taxi driver Dhs70 to take Timmy back to the ship, which was only a
15-minute journey away.
However, the family, who visited Dubai to retrace Timmy’s last-known steps, were told by the police that the sailors may have paid the driver only Dhs25 -two Dhs10 notes and a Dhs5 note. The fare would have been around Dhs30.
Cunningham said: “Given the layout of the port, with security fences and sentry points it seemed unlikely that Timmy fell in the water. The currents there wash everything in to shore.”
He added: “We are not going to give up searching for Timmy. We were very impressed by Dubai Police. We know they are keeping an open mind and have clearly put in an enormous amount of resources and man hours. We want to thank them for their diligent, methodical inquiry. We know that their priority is finding Timmy.”
Timmy is a father-of-two and was due to return to Portsmouth at the end of August, in time to see the birth of his third child.
Dubai Police have confirmed they are investigating the sailor’s disappearance but have provided no further information.