When Someone Goes Missing

When Someone Goes Missing
If a travel companion or a member of the group including family goes out of sight and lost touch with the rest, what do we do?

On the other hand, when a family member, friend or a known person goes abroad and stop communicating for no apparent reason and/or do not return as expected, where can we get help to know if they are fine for certain?

We hope these situations do not happen to us. We simply wish the person just lost his/her way momentarily, forgot or became a little ‘irresponsible’ by failing to stay-in-touch. But, sinister things do happen. There have been reported cases each year.

If you lost a companion or member of the family or group while travelling
  • If a child goes missing, report to the police as soon as possible, even if it may not be officially accepted. In some countries, a report is made only after a certain specified hours (usually 24) have not lapsed. If an adult is missing, also seek police help as soon as possible.
  • Seek help from your country embassy or consulate (if any)
  • Seek help from your home country’s foreign office(/ministry) back home if there is no embassy/consulate, many countries have a designated division to deal with such problems. They liaise with foreign country authorities, handle protocols and obtain help from Interpol.
  • Seek help from persons around the place where missing person was last known to be or seen
  • Leave word at where you were staying to inform you if the person came back while you are out searching. Also ask the hotel management if they can help
  • Approach local help/community centres and social organisations to help in the search.
  • You can get help from the Red Cross Tracing Service and Salvation Army Family Tracing Service by using the contact form or calling directly in the country where person went missing (if there is a working centre). The Red Cross gives free services while Salvation Army accepts a donation.
  • If situation is serious, contact home for someone to come over and join the search or assist in taking care of children and others who need care while you focus on finding the missing person. Consider sending them home first while able persons continue the search.
  • Advertising in local media and offering a reward for information may be useful
  • You can also hire a private investigator
If your family member, friend or known person lost touch while travelling
  • There may not be anything sinister, the person who was missed may have lost his/her phone and/or number or in an area where is no phone and internet accessibility or just ‘forgotten’ to stay in touch. Do not be unduly worried.
  • If the person has left a copy of the itinerary as recommended in our Planning and Safety Guides, you would be able to trace their whereabouts. If they also have a copy of their important contact details, get in touch directly with travel agent, airline, hotel or tour guide (subject to the privacy laws).
  • Compare notes with family and friends of their travelling companions(if any) on their plans and actual movements
  • Contact your country’s foreign office(/ministry) and provide every detail of the missing person and their possible whereabouts for them to work on the case
  • You may also check out the Red Cross Tracing Service and Salvation Army Family Tracing Service for possible assistance
  • Seek help from community help centres and local organisations in the foreign country where person went ‘missing’
  • Subject to privacy laws, you may get information from missing person’s banks on when and where was the credit card(s) last used
  • Advertising in local media and offering a reward for information may be useful
  • You can also hire a private investigator

The information and advise are intended to be a general guide for travellers only. While every care has been taken to prepare the information and make recommendations or suggestions, neither the publisher of Somewherefascinating.com nor its management or staff are responsible for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained therein.
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