SEARCH MISSION Sandy and Gene Ralston with Karen Somerville (Calgary Canine Search Corps) and Robin Latimar from Oregan, USA, who were prominent in the search for David Gavin at Kinbasket Lake, Canada.
Family of Breaffy footballer make ‘heartbreaking’ decision to postpone Canadian search until May
The search for David Gavin, the Breaffy footballer who went missing after getting into difficulty in a Canadian lake on June 30 last, has been stood down until next year.
David’s family and his partner, Ciara O’Malley, returned home from Canada last week, after making the difficult decision to postpone the search for the 26 year old.
In a statement, the family describe the decision as a ‘heartbreaking’ one.
David (pictured) got into difficulty at Kinbasket Lake Reservoir in British Colombia on June 30 after jumping from a logging bridge. He was en route with friends to a football tournament in Calgary, Alberta.
David and Ciara moved to Vancouver, British Colombia, in February of this year.
An initial search was unsuccessful, as was the second search that was made possible by extensive fundraising.
“Unfortunately the search for David did not yield the positive result that the family and friends had hoped for. The search was hampered to a great extent by poor water visibility in the lake, but all possible search options were exhausted over the last few weeks,” said the Gavin family and David’s partner Ciara in a statement.
“These included the most up-to-date high-tech sonar technologies coordinated by Mike Clement of SAVI Marine Services, Vancouver. Mike, along with Gene and Sandy Ralston from Idaho, USA, who had already spent over two weeks in July on the original search, returned to the lake with the family in August, to reexamine areas of possible entanglement.
“Two canine search teams, Robin Latimer from Oregon and Karen Somerville of Calgary Canine Search Corps, were commissioned to attempt to confine the search area. These dogs, who are trained to locate human remains, identified a number of areas of interest. These areas were then re-sonared and Can-Dive Construction Ltd, a commercial dive team from Vancouver carried out a systematic search of all these locations, which were at depths up to 60 feet in extremely poor visibility. However, much to the family’s dismay, they were unsuccessful at finding David,” they added.
Low water levels
Now hope turns to next May in the bid to locate David’s body.
“The advice from all involved in the search, is for the family to return next May when the water level in the lake reservoir will be at its lowest level. The river channels will then be exposed, and the water depth reduced to ten feet. This may facilitate identification of David’s precise location, which will then, hopefully, bring some closure for family and friends.
“We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing support given to us over the last few months, since David went missing. We have been truly overwhelmed by the generosity of people and we would love to be able to thank every single person and group individually.
“We just want you all to know that without your support, we would not have been in a position to carry out the search to the extent that we did. It has meant such a great deal to us to have the support of the community and for that we will be eternally grateful,” said the family.
“David’s two GAA clubs, Breaffy and Vancouver Harps (ISSC) have been absolutely brilliant to us, and we want to thank both clubs for their unwavering support throughout. A series of matches in David’s memory took place last weekend in Salmon Arm, BC. Teams from all affiliated clubs in Western Canada GAA took part and it was a tremendous success.”
It was fitting that Vancouver Harps won the men’s football competition. David’s partner Ciara O’Malley presented the memorial plaque to the team captain, Geoff Sheridan, from Kilmaine. Other Mayo men on the successful team were Paul Sweeney, a clubmate of David’s at Breaffy, and Emmet Gill, from Ballyvary.