Search for missing student enters sixth day

Mr Sim, a 19 year-old Chemistry undergraduate at the University of St Andrews was last seen leaving a social at the Madras Rugby Club near Old Station Road at 11 pm on Wednesday March 14 in the company of friends.

Duncan Sim Missing

The search for missing student, Duncan Sim is now entering its’ sixth day.

Mr Sim, a 19 year-old Chemistry undergraduate at the University of St Andrews was last seen leaving a social at the Madras Rugby Club near Old Station Road at 11 pm on Wednesday March 14 in the company of friends.

Chief Superintendent, Colin Gall, Division Commander of Fife police said that the finding of Mr Sim was “divisional priority”.

“National, Regional and Local Divisions pooling together in the search for Duncan supported by the Local Community and beyond, particularly from the Borders Community. Thank you to one and all as the search continues.”

Mr Sim is described as a white male, 6ft tall, of medium build.

He has brown hair, green eyes and when last seen was wearing a grey-coloured suit jacket, white shirt, and a blue and white tie.

Police have asked anyone who had seen or spoken to Duncan since to dial 101 quoting incident reference number 2987.

Photo: Duncan Sim leaving ABH the night he was last seen.

It is believed that Mr Sim was on his way to the St Andrews’ Student Union on Market Street, however there is no confirmation as of yet that he made it to the Union.

Since his disappearance, specialist local and national resources have been used in the search, including; the Coastguard, search and rescue dogs and an air support unit, with specially trained officers assisting a large number of public volunteers.

Yesterday evening Police Scotland released a CCTV image of Mr Sim leaving his hall of residence, Agnes Blackadder, the night he was last seen.

Chief Inspector Steven Hamilton of Fife’s Police Division said: “Duncan has now been missing for a significant amount of time and we are very concerned for his welfare.

“The response from the public and our partner agencies has been fantastic and we are thankful for their support as we continue in our efforts to trace Duncan.

“I would appeal specifically to anyone who may have seen Duncan, or a man matching his description, outside Madras Rugby Club at around 11.15pm on Wednesday night.

“We have released an image of Duncan from earlier in the evening showing the clothing he was wearing when last seen. I would ask the public to view this image and come forward if they saw Duncan after 11.15pm on Wednesday evening.

“I would also ask local residents in the St Andrews area to check their gardens, outbuilding and cars as Duncan may have entered to seek shelter and which can help us establish his current whereabouts.”

Thursday 15 March

Police officers were seen at Mr Sim’s halls of residence, Agnes Blackadder at roughly 7:30 pm.

Shortly after, at 9:46 pm the University of St Andrews sent an urgent appeal by email to all staff and students asking for any information regarding Mr Sim’s whereabouts to be passed onto Police Scotland.

Some students head out into the cold night to search for Mr Sim.

Friday 16 March

Members of the University of St Andrews Rugby club organise searches across town and the surrounding areas, being stood down in the early evening for safety while the police search continues.

Earlier in the day, a coastguard helicopter joins the search and is seen circling the town during the afternoon.

Sergeant Sharon Holmes of Fife Police Division said: “We are growing increasingly concerned for Duncan’s welfare and are eager to trace him as soon as possible.

“I would urge anyone who may have seen Duncan, or a man matching his description, to contact us immediately.

“In addition, anyone with information that can help us trace his whereabouts is asked to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”

Those with information can contact St Andrews Police Station via 101, quoting incident number 2987 of 15 March.

Saturday 17 March

Hundreds of staff, students and members of the community join the search for Mr Sim.

Ben Peddie, former AU President sets up a Facebook group for all those who wish to get involved in the search. The group currently has over 1,500 members.

It is estimated that over 350 volunteers joined the search for the missing student. Based out of the Madras Rugby Clubhouse where Mr Sim was last seen, members of the community begin searching the town and across North East Fife, spanning a vast area from Guardbridge to Kingsbarn.

Photo: Hundreds of volunteers join the search based at Madras Rugby Club

The Athletic Union provides vehicles so volunteers can post flyers instructing those with information to contact the police to as many houses as possible.

Members of Mr Sim’s rugby club from Duns in the Scottish Borders travelled to St Andrews by bus at 6:45 in the morning to join the search.

Many other residents of Mr Sim’s hometown travel to St Andrews individually to help in any way they can.

Those leading the team urge residents to check the areas surrounding their own properties as well as to join the search.

The Old Course Hotel as well as members of the Madras Rugby Club provide free catering to all those helping the search effort.

Sunday 18 March

Police Scotland request a thorough search of Agnes Blackadder Hall.

All student rooms are searched by members of the wardennial team, the University’s Residential Business Services and Student Services.

Members of the team continue the search despite heavy snowfall in the morning and high winds throughout the day.

The community-led search effort concentrates its’ focus on coastal areas, beaches, Eden Estuary and cliffs. It then continues to go door-to-door and distributes flyers in surrounding towns.

Photo: A letter left in the rooms of ABH residents

Monday 19 March

As weather conditions improve significantly, a Police Scotland Helicopter joins the search for Mr Sim and is seen circling St Andrews throughout the day.

However, the community search group says that it has “exhausted” all possible and plausible search locations. It has furthermore distributed flyers to the vast majority of properties in North East Fife.

Subsequently, no more mass organised searches and distribution of flyers is set to take place unless the situation develops further. The police search will continue as it has in prior days.

Some small-scale volunteer searches have taken place, however the community operation asserts that it no longer requires extra volunteers, as it has enough to complete tasks at hand.

The centre of the community-led search, Madras Rugby Clubhouse, will remain open offering food, food drink and support to any who need it.

In an email to staff and students, Principal Sally Mapstone said, “It is a remarkable and heartwarming community effort, and at another time we will want to recognise everyone who has been involved and the sheer scale of the work they have undertaken.”

Duncan Sim’s father, Gordon Sim said there was no explanation for why Duncan had gone missing.

He said, “you wouldn’t expect it at all.”

Mr Sim continued, “we’re waiting for word from the police.

“They’ve been very good. Everyone has been absolutely brilliant. I can’t fault anybody. Everybody is doing everything possible.”


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