09/02/2012 08:18 GMT | Updated 09/02/2012 08:23 GMT

Karen Furlong, British Woman Goes Missing In Doha, Qatar

British police have made a plea for help in tracing a woman who vanished after travelling to the Middle East for work.

Karen Furlong, 46, from Worthing, West Sussex, flew to Doha in Qatar on January 7 to work for a company called Nakfa Qatar Decorating.

She was due to be out of the country until January 27 but she has failed to return home, prompting an appeal by Sussex Police to trace her.

Officers have called on Ms Furlong's friends to contact them so they can build a picture of her life and "the reasons why she may not have returned".

Police said she was initially in contact with relatives but she has since not been answering their telephone calls.

It is believed she may have travelled from Doha to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

Pc Vikki Leech, of Sussex Police, said: "It is unclear why Karen has not come home.

"We are appealing for any of Karen's friends who are yet to speak to police to contact us so that we can build up a picture of Karen's life and the reasons why she may not have returned.

"When Karen travelled to Qatar, it is believed she struck up a friendship on the flight with a woman called Liz who was also travelling to work for the same company.

"We are keen to speak to Liz. We are also keen to speak to anyone with any information regarding the company Nakfa Qatar Decorating."

Ms Furlong travelled from Gatwick Airport to Qatar via Istanbul and Dubai on the Turkish Airlines Flight TK1998 on January 7. It was delayed and it is believed it took off at around 3.50pm.

She is described as white, 5ft 4in, with shoulder length hair which was a distinctive red colour when she left for Qatar.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Sussex Police on 101.