A major search operation is under way for Mail columnist Dr Michael Mosley, who has vanished during a walk on a Greek island.

Police fear Dr Mosley, 67, may have ‘slipped, tripped or fallen’ while hiking alone in blistering 36C (97F) heat on Wednesday.

His wife, Dr Clare Bailey, 62, raised the alarm when he failed to return home by 7.30pm and local authorities began tracing his route overnight. 

Police filed a missing person report at 10.30am yesterday and Athens sprang into gear to support the tiny holiday island of Symi.

By midday, each of the emergency services in Greece had been seconded by local authorities to find the world-renowned exponent of the 5:2 diet, who was last seen leaving Saint Nicholas beach towards the town of Pedi, via a rocky path with steep sections.

The coastguard scoured the sea, the fire brigade searched the remote island’s forests and hills, with a drone flying overhead and volunteers also helping with the search.

This is the picture of Dr Mosley posted with an appeal after he went missing while walking on holiday in Greece on Wednesday. He has not yet been found

This is the picture of Dr Mosley posted with an appeal after he went missing while walking on holiday in Greece on Wednesday. He has not yet been found

A helicopter taking part in search operations for British broadcaster Dr Michael Mosley

A helicopter taking part in search operations for British broadcaster Dr Michael Mosley

Dr Mosley was on holiday with his wife in Symi (pictured) after they completed a nationwide tour together called: Eat (well), Sleep (better), Live (longer)

Police fear Dr Mosley, 67, may have ‘fallen from a height’ after he set off hiking along St Nicholas Beach in the north of Symi at 1.30pm on Wednesday

Police fear Dr Mosley, 67, may have ‘fallen from a height’ after he set off hiking along St Nicholas Beach in the north of Symi at 1.30pm on Wednesday

‘Any and every attempt to track him down has not produced any result,’ Greek police spokesman Constantina Dimoglidou told the Mail. 

‘He may have slipped, tripped, fallen, even been bitten by a snake, remaining injured somewhere.

‘There is just no trace of him. None whatsoever. And that means that for us at least, every potential scenario is open and being investigated.’

Police were tonight using thermal image cameras in hills overlooking Pedi in an attempt to find any trace of Dr Mosley.

Earlier investigators had questioned restaurant owners and shopkeepers ok the picturesque fishing village and examined CCTV footage.

Hopes were raised after a man matching his description and wearing the same clothes was spotted walking along the waterside at around 4.30pm on Wednesday with a woman.

Police and Dr Bailey rushed to the Katsaras restaurant to look at the footage and despite the amazing similarity it was ruled out after she said it was not her husband.

A bus stop where Dr Mosley was said to have been spotted was close by but had not been taped off by police.

Dr Mosley and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town.

The two couples took a boat up the coast on Wednesday morning. They stopped at Saint Nicholas beach where the diet doctor, a father of four, went for a swim in the sea before deciding to walk the 2.2 miles back home at 1.30pm.

He had left his phone at their friends’ home, and when Dr Bailey and the couple returned to the property, they found that Dr Mosley had not returned and his mobile was where he left it.

After the alarm was raised, a woman reported seeing Dr Mosley walking past a bus stop in Pedi, halfway between Saint Nicholas beach and Symi Town. There were also claims he was seen talking to someone.

Dr Mosley's wife, Dr Clare Bailey (pictured together), a GP and also a columnist for the Mail, raised the alarm after her husband of nearly 40 years failed to return from a hike

Dr Mosley’s wife, Dr Clare Bailey (pictured together), a GP and also a columnist for the Mail, raised the alarm after her husband of nearly 40 years failed to return from a hike

Dr Mosley (pictured) and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town

Dr Mosley (pictured) and his wife landed on the 25-square-mile island on Tuesday and were due to stay for a week with a couple who have a house in Symi Town

Firefighters stand as they take part in search operations for British broadcaster Dr Mosley

Firefighters stand as they take part in search operations for British broadcaster Dr Mosley

If confirmed, the sighting would indicate he made it past the most perilous coastal segment of the route. But officers could not find any images of the doctor on the limited CCTV in the area.

A resident of the island and friend of the couple Dr Mosley was staying with spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live about the part of the island he was believed to have walked through.

‘It’s a road that sort of heads over the mountainside but it’s been recently widened and there is only one route, so it’s not possible to lose your way,’ she said. ‘It’s not possible to get lost up there.

‘So it is probably a 20-minute walk down the side of the mountain, but it’s not overly rugged or something that would be seen to be too dangerous – it’s something tourists do every day in the summer.’

Ms Dimoglidou said: ‘We’re looking everywhere for him’, adding that Dr Mosley may have become dizzy from the heat. ‘It’s rugged terrain with high spots, so it’s possible that he fell’, she said.

There are several rocky outcrops along the route to Pedi and it was feared Dr Mosley could have fallen into the sea.

Once past the small coastal town of Pedi, the route to his holiday home involves main roads lined with houses.

Symi mayor Lefteris Papakalodoukas said the area where the presenter went missing was considered ‘difficult as it is quite rocky’. 

‘He came back from the beach, some people saw him but then his tracks were lost,’ he said, adding that Dr Mosley ‘wanted to walk back from the beach, but that’s a distance of about an hour and a half and there are shortcuts he may have taken’.

Dr Mosley is well known for his health advice, particularly on fasting, diet and sleep, and is one of the most trusted and authoritative medical voices in the British media and around the world

Dr Mosley is well known for his health advice, particularly on fasting, diet and sleep, and is one of the most trusted and authoritative medical voices in the British media and around the world 

Dr Mosley married Clare (pictured together) in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they have four children together

Dr Mosley married Clare (pictured together) in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they have four children together

Mr Papakalodoukas added: ‘The British broadcaster has come for holiday with his wife and is being hosted by a couple of their friends on our island. We know he had gone for a swim… but because he likes hiking and the area, he (decided he) would walk back.

‘Some witnesses said he was seen returning to Pedi and talking to another person. All of these are testimonies that are being investigated at the moment.’

Mr Papakalodoukas told the local paper, Kathimerini, that the high temperatures on the island on Wednesday were ‘unbearable’ and that ‘one could easily faint in such conditions’. An excessive heat warning was issued by the Greek meteorological service on the day Mr Mosley went missing.

Police last night said the search was focusing on the Pedi area where the alleged sighting was made by a local woman. A helicopter has been brought in and a special police dog unit will arrive today.

Police confirmed ‘all involved parties have been questioned’.

Greek police officials acknowledged that the disappearance of such a high-profile figure posed a huge challenge at the start of the tourist season.

‘He may have slipped and fallen, perhaps because of a heart attack along the way,’ a police source said. ‘Nothing at this stage can be ruled out.’

The Mail understands the police are leading the investigation, which indicates they believe he has gone missing on the land, but the coastguard is assisting.

Presenter Jeremy Vine, who has featured Dr Mosley on his BBC Radio 2 programme, wrote yesterday: ‘I’m praying this lovely man is found and thinking of Clare and the whole Mosley family.’

A Foreign Office spokesman said last night: ‘We are supporting the family of a British man who is missing in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities.’

The bestselling author renowned for his diet advice 

By Andy Jehring  

Dr Michael Mosley is one of Britain’s most well-known doctors, who rose to fame with television appearances and a string of best-selling diet books.

Born in Calcutta, India, he attended boarding school in England before reading PPE at Oxford. Dr Mosley tried his hand working as an investment banker before retraining as a doctor.

He studied medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London before leaving to join the BBC as a trainee assistant producer.

Dr Mosley made a string of science and history documentaries over 25 years, rising to become a presenter and an executive producer at the corporation.

In his journalistic career he has worked alongside the likes of John Cleese, Jeremy Clarkson, Professor Robert Winston and Sir David Attenborough.

Dr Michael Mosley is one of Britain's most well-known doctors, who rose to fame with television appearances and a string of best-selling diet books

Dr Michael Mosley is one of Britain’s most well-known doctors, who rose to fame with television appearances and a string of best-selling diet books

Michael Mosley with his wife Clare Bailey in Buckinghamshire in June 2013

Michael Mosley with his wife Clare Bailey in Buckinghamshire in June 2013

He devised and was executive producer on three of the most popular science and history programmes of the past decade: Pompeii – The Last Day, Supervolcano and Krakatoa.

He is also working as a presenter on Trust Me, I’m A Doctor on BBC 2. Alongside his screen work, Dr Mosley is well known for his dietary advice after publishing bestselling plans including The Fast 800 and the 5:2 Diet.

He is one of the leading advocates of intermittent fasting, low carbohydrate and ketogenic diets.

The diet doctor has also published a book on using diet to improve sleep, called Fast Asleep, after revealing he suffered from chronic insomnia.

Dr Mosley regularly appears on his podcast Just One Thing as well as the BBC’s The One Show.

His latest book, The 8-week Blood Sugar Diet, was published in December 2015 and became an international bestseller.

He has won numerous awards, including being named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association in 1995.

Dr Mosley has won numerous awards, including being named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association in 1995

Dr Mosley has won numerous awards, including being named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association in 1995

As well as having a column in the Daily Mail, Dr Mosley writes for The Mail on Sunday, The Times and The Independent. He is a regular columnist for Focus magazine and Eureka.

He married Clare Bailey in 1987, after meeting in medical school, and they have four children together. 

Dr Mosley and his wife, who is also a Mail columnist, have just completed a nationwide tour together called: ‘Eat well, sleep better, live longer.’

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