Brent Calkin, a member of Lions Bay SAR, has been on Vancouver Island all week leading a group of friends in a search for their friend 51-year-old Michael Gazetas of Courtenay.
“We’re still on the assumption that he’s alive at the end of a road somewhere and with a damaged vehicle or the inability to return due to snow,” said Calkin. “It snowed right after he went out so there are going to be some roads that are impassable right now.”
Gazetas is a film location scout who knows the island well and likes remote areas of the backcountry, but no one has any idea where he went when he left home last Friday morning.
Since there is no starting point such as the discovery of his truck, no official search has been launched, leaving his friends to organize and raise money for a helicopter search that was unsuccessful Tuesday and perhaps for another one when the weather clears this weekend.
Three clues have been obtained that seem to confirm Gazetas did pass through Campbell River. They’ve been told by police not to share specifics of the clues.
“We went as far as Tahsis in our vehicle covering Gold River and today as far as Winter Harbour,” said friend and searcher Jay Pretula.
While they have narrowed the search area to north or west of Campbell River, searchers realize that is a vast area with countless logging roads.
“Is he just around this next corner? Is he just up this next switchback? Is his car just going to be around this hill?” added Pretula as he described the search by vehicle so far.
The group is hoping Emergency Management BC will approve an official search that could begin this weekend. It would include more aircraft and official search and rescue teams on the ground.
Gazetas is believed to be travelling in his red Ford Ranger, BC Licence plate: HX4109.
If you see Michael Gazetas or his truck, please call the Comox Valley RCMP at (250) 338-1321. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Comox Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at comoxvalleycrimestoppers.bc.ca.