HIGH winds and rainstorms have hampered a search for Michael Eather in a remote area of Guatemala.
A search team from Guatemala City spent 18 hours on the weekend in a farmer’s field in the rain with no communication after being forced to land their helicopter due to the weather.
In the latest update, Mr Eather’s family said the search team anticipated heading out again on Sunday or Monday, Guatemala time.
Helicopter rescue crew chief Chris Sharpe said in an earlier post on the Search for Michael Facebook page, and used with permission from Mr Eather’s family, they had conducted an extensive seven-hour aerial search of the river system.
Mr Sharpe said the area was inaccessible by air and foot in places and they would need to search by going in on the river.
He posted a video showing the terrain where the search was being carried out.
“I am in negotiation with the dams that control the water flow, and, frustratingly, this is an ongoing process,” he said.
“...as soon as we have a time for the water to be at its lowest we will go.
“Until I have that, unfortunately it is simply too dangerous to enter the water and actually do anything.”
Mr Sharpe said Guatemala, in places, was a third world country with no electricity and mobile phones and it could take weeks to walk out of the area.
Mr Eather’s family expressed their appreciation for the efforts of Mr Sharpe and his team.
The search is being funded through support from a GoFundMe page.
FEBRUARY 7, 2017
A CLEVELAND family have hired a private search and rescue team to continue efforts to find 23-year-old Michael Eather in Guatemala.
The former Alexandra Hills State High School and Carmel College student went missing while whitewater rafting with a friend on the Rio Cahabon River.
The search has been hampered by the dangerous terrain and the remoteness of the location.
On Monday, the family said via the Search for Michael Facebook page they were continuing their efforts with a private search and rescue team, and asked for privacy from the media.
Funds donated through the Search for Michael GoFundMe page were being used to pay for the search.
Mr Eather’s family thanked everyone for “continued love and support” and for the financial support.
“The response from the public, family and friends has been tremendous,” the family said via social media.
The Guatemalan military and police terminated their search the week after Mr Eather went missing.
Mr Eather’s friends, other volunteers and hostel employees continued their efforts and the Eather family organised a helicopter from Guatemala City to assist.
Mr Eather’s mother Tracy Eather told Redland City Bulletin last week that her son, a former electrician for a Redlands business, had left home in August.
He was on the trip of a lifetime, having travelled from Canada, through the United States and into South America.
He had been volunteering, doing construction work, at a hostel, at the time he went missing.