A HELICOPTER and rescue dogs are set to join a major search operation for a Witney woman who went missing in Guatemala.

Catherine Shaw disappeared from her hotel in San Pedro, Lake Atitlan, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and a search team has since received 'potential sightings' of a woman matching her description. 

LATEST UPDATE: Drones and dive teams search for Witney woman missing in Guatemala

Over the weekend the 23-year-old's parents put out a video plea for information, saying they are 'desperately worried' for her safety and have not heard from her since Monday.

READ AGAIN: Family's heartfelt plea to find Catherine Shaw 

More than £5,000 has been raised so far on social media to aid the search, and a puppy that Ms Shaw was said to be with at the time has been found 'shivering and crying' at a lookout point. 

Ms Shaw's family is being supported by the Lucie Blackman Trust, which posted on its Facebook page last night: "We have again received a huge amount of intelligence today and are very grateful for the continuing support.

"All potential sightings and information is being assessed and passed on to police where appropriate.

"We have received a very large amount of sightings of a female with a guitar and a tattoo on her ribs, travelling with another female and hitchhiking / trying to get a lift, possibly heading for the beach.

Witney Gazette:

San Pedro marked on map of Guatemala, next to Lake Atitlán. Pic: Google Maps

"This female clearly matches Catherine's description and, while we are currently unsure if this is Catherine, we urgently need to speak to this person.

"There have been several sightings of these two females. If anyone does see them, please report it to us or local police as soon as possible with a detailed location.

"If anyone talks to them, please ask them to get in touch with us or ask them their names and where they are going.

"We are also receiving several reports about a found puppy. These reports are being assessed.

"Please be aware that we are working around the clock and although your message may not be immediately replied to, it will be noted and actioned.

"Local searches are being arranged and anyone in the area wishing to help should make themselves known to organisers.

"Thank you again for all your help and support."

ALSO READ: Tributes to Kidlington man who went missing

A Facebook page called 'Finding Catherine Shaw,' set up by her friends involved in the search, has so far gathered 1,000 followers.This morning it posted to confirm that rescue dogs and a helicopter will be drafted in tomorrow to help find Ms Shaw.

  • Anyone with information is urged to call the Lucie Blackman Trust on 0800 098 8485, +44800 098 8485 from overseas numbers, or email ops@lbtrust.org

A separate post on the 'Finding Catherine' page this morning added: "We have combined forces with locals, ex-pats, and law-enforcement, international agencies and people abroad. 

It said Ms Shaw was last seen on CCTV leaving Eco-Hotel Mayachik, where she had been staying with a friend, at 5.23am on Tuesday with a puppy she had befriended days earlier, heading in the direction of Lake Atitlan. 

The post added: "The puppy she had with her was found alive on Friday morning between 5-6am at the highest lookout of Indian’s Nose in Santa Clara, by Guatemalan tourists from Guatemala City.

"The puppy was shivering and crying, according to the man who found it."

The search team has sent drones up to the spot where the puppy was found, and are using mapping technology to try to grasp where she might be. 

The Mayor of San Juan and local police are assisting the operation.

Ms Shaw left England to go travelling in September, and has been in Guatemala in Central America for more than two weeks, having previously visited Mexico and California.