Michael Eather's family visit Guatemala

SEARCH REPORT: A search team has placed an Australian flag and a small memorial alongside the Guatemalan river where Michael Eather went missing. Photo: Kerry Bergman

SEARCH REPORT: A search team has placed an Australian flag and a small memorial alongside the Guatemalan river where Michael Eather went missing. Photo: Kerry Bergman

FAMILY members of Michael Eather, who disappeared while whitewater rafting in Guatemala, have visited the area where the electrician was last seen.

Mr Eather, a former Alexandra Hills High School and Carmel College student, went missing when a tube he was on overturned on the Rio Cahabon River on January 23.

The family contracted private helicopter operator Chris Sharpe after the initial search by the Guatemalan military and police was terminated.

Employees at the hostel, where Mr Eather had been volunteering, together with his travel companions also helped with the search.

In a post on the Search for Michael Facebook page, Mr Eather’s mother Tracy Eather said she had travelled to Guatemala with Mr Eather’s brother Brendan, his father Brett and Brett’s partner.

“Whilst at the hostel, the local Mayan people performed a special ceremony for Michael, his family and friends, both present and for those at home,” Mrs Eather posted.

“This helped to bring peace for us all regarding this tragic event.”

The post stated Mr Sharpe and his team had flown more than 2500 kilometres.

Their final search report concluded that if Mr Eather had survived the first waterfall drop he would have quickly succumbed to swim failure.

“During our exit from the area, our search team itself suffered three separate near drowning incidents whilst swimming out of this rapid section,” the report stated.

“The search team are convinced they know the final resting place of Mike, however due to the strength of water current it is physically impossible for them to get into this underwater cave.”

Before leaving the area on the last day of their search, the team laid an Australian flag and small memorial on rocks on the side of the river for Mr Eather’s family.

The Eather family expressed their appreciation to the search team and said a celebration of life for Mr Eather would be held on a date still be to decided.

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