The family of a man who went missing after a storm hit Ibiza a year ago say they are desperate for closure – with the search so far turning up 14 bodies.
Mark Garland, 55, is still desperately awaiting news of his son Ben, 25, who has not been seen since riding a motorbike on the island during Storm Gloria in January last year.
Two more bodies found last month are still being examined by the authorities to see if it could be Ben – but Mark said the last 12 months waiting for confirmation has been agony.
Ben, originally from near Trowbridge, Wiltshire, was working as a deckhand on a luxury yacht but vanished after heading out in torrid weather to take photographs.
Mark said searches have found a total of 14 bodies across the island – many washed up on beaches or found in the water.
The latest were discovered on December 8 and on December 29, near the town of Portinax, where Ben had gone on his ride.
Mark said: “As of yet we don’t have any news on these two bodies – I keep messaging the consulate for updates but they keep coming back saying it’s a long process.
“These latest two were very badly decomposed so it’s hard to determine the identity.
“We know from his Instagram account he was stood on the rocks taking photographs and videos of the waves.
“Nobody knows for sure, but we can only suspect a rogue wave has hit Ben and swept him into the sea.”
Ben is officially still classed as a missing person, but his father says he has accepted his son is dead.
“I know 100 per cent Ben is no longer with us,” Mark added.
Ben’s jacket was found floating 1000ft off the coast of Punta des Gat in the days after his disappearance last January.
His watch and motorbike were also found near to a cliffside spot where he shot his last social media video.
Mark added: “Every time one [body] is found I get a call and my heart stops – but it’s never the news I need to hear.
“I had the choice from the consulate to either wait for identification then be informed or to be told straight away without identification being made.
“I chose to be told straight away.
“Coronavirus has come at a really bad time – I think it has put a strain on resources in Spain.
“That’s my biggest fear, that he’s never found. I’m not sure how you live with that. I just want some peace and closure.
“It’s just a sad, sad situation. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
The last year has also dealt with another devastating blow for Mark and his family.
His daughter Charlotte, 37, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and will be leaving behind five children.
“Since Ben’s been missing we’ve had another tragedy – my daughter has terminal cancer,” Mark added.
“It started off as breast cancer but has spread up through her pelvis and spine.
“She’s also just contracted Covid-19.
“So on top of Ben we’re really struggling with that as well.”
Mark’s family were planning on travelling up to the popular view point at Heaven’s Gate, Wiltshire, yesterday (Thursday) to light candles and mark the one-year anniversary of Ben’s disappearance.
But due to lockdown measures an online vigil instead took place with friends and family.
Ben originally traveled to Ibiza after finding work on a boat.
Bus driver Mark, who has three other children, has also paid tribute to his son.
He said: “Ben made a big impression with whoever he met. He was funny, caring and lively.
“He was everything you wanted in a son. He called me his hero. He just had time for everyone.
“I know people will never say anything bad against their children but he was special – I’m telling you.
“He was always there for the underdog – that was Ben, that’s what he was all about.
“He was my best mate.”
Storm Gloria battered Ibiza and other parts of Spain earlier last year, with Ben one of several people going missing.
He failed to return from a ride near the town of Portinax on January 21 when large waves and high winds hit the popular island.
Mark and several other relatives and friends then flew out two days later to help with the hunt.
But they had to return to Britain empty-handed after days of searching – during which Mark revealed he didn’t sleep for 38 hours.
Mark added that the kindness of others had helped him through the tragic ordeal.
He said: “I was getting 50 to 100 messages a day at the start – I’m not exaggerating. People have just been amazing. So many have helped me.
“The love and support has just been amazing – that’s what keeps me going.”
Updates on Ben and his disappearance can be seen via the Facebook page – ‘Light up for Ben.’