New search to start for botanist Jamie Taggart, missing in Vietnam

A new search will start on Sunday for botanist Jamie Taggart, after his mother flew out to the area of Vietnam where he went missing.

Jamie Taggart
Jamie Taggart

Jamie, of Linn Gardens in Cove on the Rosneath Peninsula, disappeared on a plant-hunting expedition in remote area of northern Vietnam in November 2013.

His mother, Jill Mary, is now in the town of Sa Pa and finally able to investigate the mystery herself, with the aid of Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff who have arranged an interpreter, as well as meetings with officials and witnesses.

“Having seen for myself the formidable terrain and had the opinions of friends, witnesses and officials here, it is devastating to confirm that our son Jamie Taggart did in fact leave the official route to explore an area that was most likely to contain undiscovered species of orchid or rhododendron,” she said.

“He then had an unfortunate accident. This could have been due to his keen urge to commence his search immediately he arrived in Sa Pa after an 10 hours on an overnight train and two and a half hour road trip to Sa Pa.”

Jamie, who was 41 when he disappeared, had played a key role in developing Linn Gardens into an internationally recognised attraction.

Friends and neighbours in Cove and Kilcreggan raised thousands of pounds to help the search for him, with Hollywood star Hugh Grant also making a substantial donation.

UK diplomats have urged police in Vietnam to step up the search and then First Minister Alex Salmond has also intervened.

But none of the searches to date have found any trace of the retained firefighter.

Jill Mary has confirmed that Jamie left all his possessions except for a small knapsack in his hotel room and left by taxi for Tram Ton pass, since his guide Mr Son has not been aware of his arrival. She added:

The probable route Jamie took has not been explored due to lack of permits and red tape; it is being arranged for a new search using native Hmong people together with Son and the police.

Funding for the planned search of three days by at least 15 people, including food and overnight camping, is partly to be paid for by family and friends and the rest by the Vietnamese Police Department. The search is being planned to start on Sunday.

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