A young New Zealand Mormon missionary is missing on the Caribbean island of Martinique where he intended to climb the slopes of a volcano.
However, details were sketchy last night about whether Hamiltonian Thomas Swain, understood to be about 19, and his companion, a missionary from Utah, actually followed their plan to climb Mt Pelee. The men disappeared on Monday.
They were on a "preparation day" - a day off from their missionary work - and had told friends the night before that they wanted to hike around Mt Pelee. They failed to check in with the church on Monday.
Police and local Mormons have searched dense bush around the mountain but have not found any trace of the pair, who were last spotted on Monday afternoon in a restaurant.
The police commander on the French island, Jean Michel Robinet, said: "It's possible they fell. There are accidents from time to time, but they're rare."
The men's families have been informed. Mr Swain has been in Martinique since April.
The Swain family emigrated from Stafford, England in 2005. Thomas's 18-year-old brother Alex - speaking from Hamilton last night - said the family were "waiting and hoping" Thomas would be found.
"We love him very much. He's a wonderful strong leader. I looked up to him. He helped me through the hard times."
- additional reporting: NZPABy Alanah Eriksen @AlanahEriksen Email Alanah, Alanah May Eriksen