Body is found in the hunt for missing British professor, 60, who vanished from a remote mountain observatory in the Chilean desert nearly two months agoA body has been found in the search for astrophysicist Thomas Marsh, 60Mr Marsh went missing in Chile almost two months while on a research tripFormal identification is due to take place in the coming days, local police sayMr Marsh’s family are currently in Chile as they assisted with the investigation By Brittany Chain For Mailonline
Published: 02:02, 11 November 2022 | Updated: 03:05, 11 November 2022
A body believed to be that of a British professor who vanished in the remote Chilean mountains almost two months ago has been found.
Thomas Richard Marsh, a 60-year-old astrophysicist at University of Warwick, was last seen on September 16 near the remote astronomical observatory La Silla on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert, where he was working at the time.
Mr Marsh travelled with an unnamed student to observe the night skies from the observatory’s powerful telescopes as part of a work trip.
On Thursday, local police confirmed the body was found about two miles from the observatory.
No cause of death has been revealed.
A statement issued by his university revealed an extensive search had been taking place in the remote mountains for weeks – led by a ‘highly trained specialist search team’.
Thomas Richard Marsh, a 60-year-old astrophysicist at University of Warwick, was last seen on September 16 near the remote astronomical observatory La Silla on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert where he was working
Mr Marsh’s family are currently in Chile, as they’d been helping with the investigation up until this point.
Formal identification of the body has not yet taken place, and will likely be conducted by the end of this week.
Chris Ennew, from the University, said: ‘This is deeply distressing news for Tom’s family and our thoughts are of course with them, along with his colleagues and our wider community.
‘And we realise it’s particularly difficult while people are waiting for formal identification to take place.
‘I know what a terrible time this is for the colleagues who knew Tom and counted him as a close friend as well as an inspirational academic and mentor.’
La Silla Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Chile with three telescopes built and operated by the European Southern Observatory
Mr Marsh was the founding professor of the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at his university and was working as a visiting astronomer at the time of his disappearance.
His PHD student raised the alarm after he didn’t show up to begin observations at the observatory as arranged following a night’s sleep two days after their arrival in Chile on September 14.
Clothes and other belongings belonging to Mr March were found in his room after he was reported missing.
Mr Marsh’s wife Felicity described him in October as a ‘happy family man’ who loved his job and his life.
‘Gentle and kind and truly content at the heart of happy, loving family,’ she said.
Mr Marsh was last seen at the La Silla Observatory in Chile and all his clothes and other personal belongings including his passport are said to have remained untouched in a nearby rented room
‘It’s easy to forget that he is behind some of the most ground-breaking science in his field. He is very quiet about his success and honours. What drives him is his endless love for science.’
Specialist officers are supporting the family at this time.
Local police said in a statement on Thursday via Twitter: ‘We are sorry to deliver this sad news and express our condolences to his family and friends.’
La Silla Observatory is an astronomical observatory in Chile with three telescopes built and operated by the European Southern Observatory, an intergovernmental research organisation made up of 16 member states for ground-based astronomy.
The observatory is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. It is located around 95 miles northeast of the city of Serena at the outskirts of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and remotest places in the world.