Photo of missing Benoit, posted on Facebook by his cousin

Third foreign tourist goes missing on Madeira hiking trail

A third foreign tourist has been reported missing on a hiking trail in Madeira.

This latest mystery comes less than two months since the last ‘disappearance’ (click here) and almost nine months since the first.

This has been a ‘worrying year’ for the island in terms of tourist fatalities: two have recently died in falls on the popular walking routes. Accidents are relatively common on the trails – but losing people completely is not, particularly when this happens three times in the space of less than a year.

For now, the latest incident is being largely presented as a one-off. Reports have made little or no mention at all of Michel Kozek, 35 and Jascha Paul Hardenberg, 28 – the two men who disappeared previously.

Indeed, the latest missing person hasn’t even been named by most press reports – although some do make reference to a Facebook posting by ‘his cousin Emmanuelle de Silva Poseidon’.

From Emmanuelle’s post, it is clear that the young man’s name is Benoit, that he went missing on September 1 and that he is 35 years old  – a very similar age to the other two missing men.

Indeed, just like the other missing men, Benoit was hiking alone when he went missing.

SIC television news has perhaps given the most complete report, explaining that Benoit (though the station did not identify him by name) was last seen on August 31 when he arrived at Parque das Queimadas in Santana, prior to setting out on his hike.

Benoit was camping at Parque das Queimadas. It appears that his telephone was switched off from August 31, which is what alerted his family in France, and got them to get in touch with the French embassy in Lisbon.

By the time word got to police in Madeira, Benoit appears to have been missing for at least four days. And the problem now is that no-one knows which hiking trail he was following.

Says SIC, Parque das Queimadas has two trails leading from it, one in the direction of Pico das Pedras, the other towards Levada da Serra da Ilha, leading to Caldeirão Verde and Caldeirão do Inferno.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com