Spanish trekker headed to World Cup missing in Iran

Santiago Sánchez' next step would have been Bandar Abbas, a port in southern Iran where he would hop on a boat to Qatar. But all traces of him evaporated even before he reached Tehran, his parents think.



October 25, 2022 - 2:10 PM

A building complex in the shape of the year 2022, at Doha Sports City near Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar's capital Doha, ahead of the FIFA football World Cup 2022, on Sept. 7, 2022. (Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish man trekking from Madrid to Doha for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has not been heard from since the day after he crossed into Iran three weeks ago, his family said Monday, stirring fears about his fate in a country convulsed by mass unrest.

The experienced trekker, former paratrooper and fervent soccer fan, 41-year-old Santiago Sánchez, was last seen in Iraq after hiking through 15 countries and extensively sharing his journey on a popular Instagram account over the last nine months.

Sánchez’s family last heard from him on Oct. 2, a day after he crossed the Iraq-Iran border.

February 27, 2022
June 21, 2019
June 18, 2019
July 10, 2018