Search for missing Island man called off

Teams combed through 16,000 square kilometres on weekend for Courtenay’s Michael Gazetas

A closer view of the service vehicle being sought by friends and family of Michael Gazetas. Photo contributed

Search teams for Michael Gazetas of Courtenay are standing down after an intensive effort to find him on the weekend.

Sue Biely, the organizer of a GoFundMe page to fund private searches, announced with “a heavy heart” that the search was being called off.

“The feeling is that if Michael was alive, we would have found him. He is a resourceful guy who would have lit a signal fire, something,” she wrote. “This is obviously not the outcome we wanted and one that is hard to accept.”

On the page, she said the weekend search covered more than 16,000 square kilometres. This centred around the Highway 28 corridor west of Campbell River. Late last week, they had a clue involving a service vehicle driving the same route before Gazetas, and their hope was to identify the company to see if whoever was driving could help narrow down the search location. They have a video still of the vehicle near the Uplands gravel pit on the Gold River Highway.

RELATED STORY: Clue narrows search for Courtenay man to Highway 28 corridor

Gazetas disappeared on Jan. 31 and was last seen leaving his Courtenay home in his red Ford Ranger pickup. Friends and family started the GoFundMe page to fund air searches as a way to narrow down the potential locations.

“This is a group of loyal friends who have worked tirelessly in the last week…. but all avenues have been exhausted and we are exhausted. We’ve done everything we can and looked everywhere we can for now,” she said.

There were 21 teams out on Saturday and 19 teams on Sunday. As well, searches were conducted using powerboats, kayaks, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, with 70,000 GoPro photos taken from the aerial searches.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Panthers’ Captain Tanner Wort faces Tory McClintick of the Victoria Cougars during Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League action Friday night at Panorama Recreation Centre. The Panthers lost 3-0, then lost 7-2 Sunday. (Gordon Lee/Submitted)
Peninsula Panthers’ losing streak reaches four games as injuries mount

Injuries have especially hurt the team’s backline with only four defenders available

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan Bui (left) and Kairry Nguyen at the end of the trial that found Tanessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. Nikirk is back in court for her sentencing hearing. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATED: Court hears letter from driver convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read