ELITE commandos have joined the jungle hunt for a Brit schoolgirl who vanished while on a family holiday in Malaysia.
Concerned cops have drafted in the VAT 69 special forces in their search and rescue effort for teen Nora Quoirin.
Local police chief Zakaria Othman said: ““We will use every human resource available with us and since the Vat 69 Commando is our elite force, we have decided to also rope them in.”
The news comes after cops said they believe Nora may still be alive after finding ‘her footprints’ in the jungle.
Emergency teams say they are now focusing their search for the vulnerable youngster on isolated “hilly areas” as she could be hiding behind huge rocks.
The potential breakthrough comes after cops discovered several footprints they believe belong to the missing 15 year old.
They were found near the isolated resort where the teen, 15, vanished on Sunday while on holiday with her family.
A specialist dog unit found the prints in the “search zone” but there was no further sign of Nora.
State Fire and Rescue Department director Ahmad Mukhlis Mokhtar said: “Our detective canines had spotted footprints, but when we conducted a search there, we couldn’t find her.”
However, he added he was now optimistic Nora – who has learning difficulties and suffers from Holoprosencephaly – was within the radius of the forest and would be found soon.
Her family said today: “Nora was born with Holoprosencephaly; this means that she has a smaller brain.
“All her life she has spent a lot of time in hospital. When she was born, she needed operations to help her breathing.
“She has specialists that monitor her growth, her physical abilities and her strength, and especially her mental capacity.
“Nora has always needed dedicated specialist educational provision, and now attends a school for children and young people with learning and communication difficulties.”
What is holoprosencephaly and why does it occur?
Holoprosencephaly occurs when the brain fails to divide properly into the right and left hemispheres.
The most severe forms of holoprosencephaly produce seizures and, in some cases, severe mental difficulties.
Typical facial defects involve the eyes, nose, and upper lip.
There is no standard course of treatment for holoprosencephaly.
Treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
The prognosis for individuals with the disorder depends on the severity of the brain and facial deformities.
Mukhlis said the operation would also focus on the jungle’s hilly areas as it was possible that Nora could be hiding behind huge trees or rocks.
A helicopter from the Royal Malaysian Police Air Wing Unit, equipped with a surveillance thermal imaging camera, is also in action near the Dusan forest eco-resort in Seremban.
During the search a huge hole was reportedly found in a fence surrounding the resort raising the possibility Nora may have wandered into the jungle and got lost.
Search crews are now playing a voice recording of missing Nora’s mother over loudspeakers as they step up their jungle search.
Forest trackers are also calling out the youngster’s name as they comb the dense trees for any sign of her.
Superintendent Mohd Nor Marzukee Bin Besar revealed a helicopter, drones and dogs are also being used to trace the youngster, who has not been seen since the weekend.
The police yesterday released photos of a hotel room window they say was found propped open at the holiday resort where Nora went missing.
They now believe the Brit schoolgirl could only have left her family’s plush vacation cottage through the window, say reports.
He said: “We have had a long discussion with the family to determine who Nora has the closest relationship to and whose voice she would respond strongly to.
“We have decided to make a recording and use a loudspeaker. We have to respect the sensitivities of this case. We need to make the recording and will start using the loudspeaker this morning.”
Supt Besar – who said 252 people are now involved in the hunt – added that he hopes it will “jump start” Nora to respond if she hears it.
The message is ‘Nora darling, I love you… mum is here. Mum is here, Nora darling, my love.’
Nora disappeared from a resort near the Berembun Forest Reserve in the west of Malaysia on Sunday.
Police initially insisted there was “no evidence” of foul play, but have now admitted Nora could’ve been abducted after the discovery of the unidentified fingerprints.
Che Zakaria Othman, deputy police chief in the state of Negeri Sembilan, said that a forensic team had examined the prints.
He declined to give further details, but did say the investigation includes a possible “criminal element”.
In an emotional video statement released on Wednesday, Nora’s family said they remained hopeful the schoolgirl can be found.
Speaking on behalf of Nora’s parents, Nora’s aunt said: “We are completely overwhelmed by the support we have received from all over the world.
On Thursday, we reported how a top British cop has likened the full-scale search for a missing British schoolgirl in Malaysia to the baffling Madeleine McCann case.
JUST LIKE MADDIE
“Ultimately, the cases of children go missing abroad are so rare that we tend to know the names of all of them,” said Mr Gamble, who investigated Madeleine’s disappearance.
“This is now one of three cases that are similar…Ben Needham who went missing many years ago, Madeleine McCann who is still on everybody’s minds and now Nora.”
Mr Gamble – who is is contact with the Quoirin family – said her parents are “anxious beyond belief” as the search for Nora continues.
Nora’s parents discovered her missing on Sunday morning after putting her to bed wearing only her undergarments the night before.
The family had arrived just a day earlier for a two-week “trip of a lifetime” at the resort, which sits 39 miles south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.
In a written statement yesterday, Nora’s parents dismissed the idea that she had wandered off of her own accord.
“Nora’s family believe she has been abducted,” it said.
“We are especially worried because Nora has learning and developmental disabilities, and is not like other 15-year-olds.
“She looks younger, she is not capable of taking care of herself and she won’t understand what is going on.
“She never goes anywhere by herself. We have no reason to believe she wandered off and is lost.”
But until yesterday local police had continued to treat the disappearance only as a missing persons case.
Police chief Mohamad Mat Yusop said previously: “We have no clues, no evidence to say this case is abduction.
“We will do our very best. We will not give up hope. We believe that she didn’t go far and that she had lost her way.”
The family of missing Brit Nora Quoirin issued an emotional video statement
A member of staff at the hotel told The Sun Online there is “no way of knowing” whether the window in Nora’s room was opened from the outside or the inside.
The area is not covered by CCTV.
The family had been due to spend two weeks on the 12-acre Dusun Resort next to the Berembun Forest Reserve – 4,000 acres of protected forest rising to 3,900 feet.
APPEAL FOR INFORMATION
The forest has wild boar, deer, giant millipedes, monkeys and leeches, according to the resort’s website.
There are two small villages near the resort where the majority of residents work in farming.
Nora is understood to have been travelling on an Irish passport.
A spokesman for Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs said: “We are aware of the case and providing consular assistance.”
The family has set up an email address where information can be passed on at [email protected].
The Lucie Blackman Trust charity has also provided a hotline and email address for information.
People can remain anonymous and can call +448000988485 or email [email protected].
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