Police, friends and searchers looking for missing Courtenay man

Watch51-year-old Michael Gazetas hasn't been seen since Friday morning when he left home in his red Ford Ranger pickup truck. But until any sign of him or the truck is found a formal search by local SAR teams won't be launched.

Comox Valley RCMP say they are looking for a 51-year-old Courtenay man who was reported missing on Jan. 31.

Police said Michael Gazetas was last seen leaving his home at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 31. He was wearing a red and blue poncho over a black shirt and vest, with dark coloured jeans and a green toque.

Gazetas is believed to be travelling in his red Ford Ranger, with the BC licence plate HX4109.

He is a location scout for the film industry and friends say he knows the backcountry very well.

“You know it was a vicious day when he vanished. Washouts all over the island and it’s possible he’s stuck behind a washout somehow,” said Gazetas’ friend Brent Calkin.

Calkin is a member of Lions Bay Search and Rescue near Vancouver and is leading a team of friends in an unofficial search for Gazetas. An official search with local SAR teams will only be approved by the provincial government when there is a more specific starting point.

Currently, searchers have no idea where Gazetas went when he left home in his truck Friday morning.

“Michael is one of those classic wonderful human beings,” added Calkin. “A great big bear of a man, creative, smart, funny.”

A red Ford Ranger truck Michael Gazetas is believed to be travelling in. (Comox Valley RCMP)

A red Ford Ranger truck Michael Gazetas is believed to be travelling in. (Comox Valley RCMP)

Search crews are using a helicopter to look around backcountry west of Campbell River down to Buttle Lake where Gazetas is known previously to have spent a considerable amount of time.

“There’s a lot of bush and a lot of logging roads in this area and to drive them all would take a crazy amount of time,” said searcher Chris Smith. “A helicopter makes that a little bit easier and covers a lot more distance and we can see from a different perspective.”

Anyone who sees Gazetas or knows where he is can call Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Comox Valley Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or http://comoxvalleycrimestoppers.bc.ca/


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