“Hanım” or “Lady”, a black Labrador, has joined in the search for John Joseph Kirkham, a 67 year old British man from Blackpool who went missing earlier this week whilst walking the Lycian Way.

“Hanım” or “Lady”, a black Labrador, has joined in the search for John Joseph Kirkham a 67 year old British man from Blackpool.

An experienced walker, with more than 30 years experience, he has been lost for four days on the Lycian Way mountain trail, above the resort Olüdeniz near Fethiye in southwest Turkey.

Her handlers, who are from the Muğla regional Jandarma headquarters, say that she has been given an article of Kirkham’s clothing to learn his scent.

“We are taking her onto the mountain early in the morning. By mid-morning the weather is too hot for her to track but we hope that she can help to find Mr Kirkham.”

The local Jandarma, under the command of Lieutenant Yal夣305;n, are not stinting in their efforts and in addition to “Hanım” and her handlers are being assisted by, AKUT Turkey’s search and rescue team, the local mountaineering club, the forestry and every paraglider and micro-lighter in the area.

“Everyone is trying to help find Mr Kirkham and it is good to see that we are all working together for Mr. Kirkham.”

Sandra Kirkham cannot understand what has happened to her husband but is trying to be positive and optimistic in the increasingly difficult circumstances.

She is staying in an apartment in the inland resort of Ovacık, just a few kilometres away from the beginning of the Lycian Way.

“He left at 6am” she is reported to have told the rescue services, “and always goes equipped with water, food and emergency provisions.

He carries a compass and a map but I have since been told that the maps here aren’t very accurate.”

{mosimage}He was last seen in the village of Kirme, which is about 800 metres above sea level.

Nonetheless there are concerns now for his well being as temperatures soar up to 40 degrees during the summer in these parts.

The Lycian way is a 500 kilometre path that leads from Fethiye to Antayla, which has become extremely popular with walkers over the past few years.

It is marked with red and yellow stripes and covers some extremely remote and beautiful countryside.

On the way there are some small villages and farming areas.

The Jandarma have pointed out that the Lycian Way is clearly marked and anybody lost in the area should be able to find both fruit and water as both are in abundant supply in the area.

Furthermore the search teams are hoping that his experience of walking, both in Turkey and in many other countries will mean that he is safe and just waiting to be rescued.

His mobile phone switches directly to voice mail and according to the authorities has not been used in the area.

Sandra Kirkham raised the alarm when John failed to return to their apartment by 7pm Monday night after she expected him back at 4pm.

The couple was holidaying with their granddaughter and her friend and was in the second week of a three week stay.

“We’ve been to Turkey many times before and even walked different parts of the Lycian Way,” said Mrs. Kirkham, whose daughter Sharon is flying out from the UK to join the family.

The Daily Telegraph, a British newspaper reports Mrs. Kirkham as saying,

“I’ve been overwhelmed by all the support and positive response of the local authorities and people. They’ve been unstinting in their kindness, generosity and sheer energy and input they’ve used to try and find John. I’m confident that everything that can be done is being done and I’m not giving up hope that I will be re-united with my husband soon.”

Jane Tuna

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