Dad seeks truth of why son vanished in Switzerland

Fergus McInnes was last seen buying a train ticket in Geneva. Picture: PA
Fergus McInnes was last seen buying a train ticket in Geneva. Picture: PA
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A HEARTBROKEN father whose son mysteriously disappeared in Switzerland three weeks ago has told of his search for the truth.

Fergus McInnes had been bound for a conference on September 9 but failed to check into his hotel, attend the event or catch his flight home.

Writing on a blog set up by friends, Bennet McInnes has addressed theories about what may have happened to his son.

They include the possibility that the 51-year-old was robbed “perhaps violently”, or that a “traumatic experience” sparked a bout of amnesia.

But retired Mr McInnes, who worked for the Royal Observatory Edinburgh, denied that his son had been “under exceptional strain”.

He said: “One possibility I was asked to consider was that he might have felt the need to take time out.

“At first I was influenced by information that he had failed to complete certain tasks that were being tackled by him. Gradually, we learned that there was no evidence of such failure.

“I cannot rule out the suggestion that he has taken time out by deliberately going missing, but this seems highly implausible to me.”

Fergus previously described his father as a “major influence”, and thanked him for his support during bouts of depression.

According to friends, the Edinburgh University academic had been on a “manic high” for weeks and may have “tumbled into depression”. But they said he hadn’t had a bad turn for several years and appeared to be in “excellent spirits” when he left Edinburgh.

His family believes he may have fallen asleep on a train from Geneva and missed his stop at Martigny, to where he had bought a return ticket.

Bennet said: “Was he robbed of his possessions, perhaps violently, and forced into 
confusion? He is short-sighted and always wears glasses.

“If he lost his glasses, he would be extremely disoriented and upset. If he has suffered a traumatic experience he may have lost his memory as well as his means of identification.”

The last confirmed sighting of Fergus was in Geneva where he was seen buying the train ticket. Since then there have been several reported sightings, but all searches have so far proved fruitless.

His family previously speculated that he could have embarked on a 120-kilometre mountain trek from Martigny to the village of Salvan. But it has now emerged that he left a pair of walking boots at his St Leonard’s Bank home, making the hike theory less likely.

Bennet said: “We are looking for the truth. We are hoping for a good outcome, but there is much that is bad in the present situation. I believe that in the long run truth will replace ignorance.

“I hope his relatives and friends can remain hopeful till the truth about Fergus’s strange disappearance is known.”