An intensive search is under way for a man from Birkirkara who went diving at Dwejra four days ago and is still missing.

The man, named as Emanuel Sammut, 43, went to Gozo for harpoon fishing on Friday evening, sources said.

However, his absence was only noticed on Sunday morning when passers-by came upon his parked car which was emanating a strong odour of decaying fish.

On Sunday afternoon someone filed a police report saying that a car had been parked on the rocks for two days, a spokesman for the police media unit said. The police found the car, a Skoda, unlocked and with diving equipment inside.

Police believe that Mr Sammut, who owns a cheesecake outlet in Birkirkara, had emerged from the water at some point on Friday night to put newly caught fish in his car.

When the alarm was raised on Sunday the army launched a search using a patrol boat, a helicopter and divers. The search yesterday went on until about 5.30pm before it was called off as darkness fell.

A number of volunteers are taking part in the search together with divers from the Civil Protection Department and the Emergency Response and Rescue Corps.

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