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‘I fear hunt for Noah’s Ark has cost my brother his life’

The brother of a Scots explorer who has gone missing searching for Noah’s Ark in eastern Turkey has said that he is probably dead.

Donald Mackenzie, 47, from Lewis, had been searching on Mount Ararat, after a Chinese expedition claimed it had found the remains of the Biblical vessel earlier this year.

His brother Ross, 49, an IT consultant in Luxembourg, said he last had a text message from Donald on September 25 when his brother was 12,000ft up the mountain.

He said: “He is very much a maverick, very self-reliant and, if he went up by himself, that is a very dangerous thing to do.

“The most obvious scenario is he got into trouble and hurt himself but another scenario is that in that area you get bandits.

“I’ve already come to terms with the fact that I probably won’t see him again.”

Mr Mackenzie said his brother was warned of the dangers he faced. He added he had been arrested by Turkish police and questioned about his Kurdish friends on an earlier trip.

“You need permits to do everything, so he probably was arrested for not having a permit to climb the mountain or whatever. But he was questioned by the police about the Kurds he knew in the area and I think they may have thought he might have connections to the PKK (separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party). They certainly didn’t trust his motivation for climbing the mountain.”

Mr Mackenzie added: “But he would not be mixed up in anything political, though he is very dogmatic in his religious beliefs. He won’t be told what to do. He is straight to the point and sometimes not very diplomatic.”

In Lewis, the missing man’s mother, renowned Gaelic singer Maggie Jean, said there had been no news about her son, adding: “Nobody wanted him to go but he wanted to go and you couldn’t keep him back.

“He is an adventurer and very resourceful and intrepid.”

She said that he attended the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, although not a full member, because it stuck closest to the Bible.

• Full story at The Herald.

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