Wednesday 25 April 2018

Canadian police stand down search for popular GAA star David Gavin

Irishman's family and friends will continue search in private capacity

David Gavin (26)
David Gavin (26)
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Police in Canada have called off their search for Co Mayo GAA star David Gavin (26) who is presumed drowned after he dived off a bridge into a river in British Columbia.

However, family and friends of the footballer will continue the search in a private capacity.

Mr Gavin (26), who is originally from Castlebar in Co Mayo, went missing after he dived off a bridge over the Beaver River, in British Colombia, on Friday afternoon.

A spokeswoman for the British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said the search was called off earlier on Tuesday after efforts by its  Underwater Recovery Team and Air Services unit failed to find any trace of him using underwater dives and flyovers of the river and nearby Kinbasket Lake.

“Unfortunately at this stage police are presuming that the missing man has drowned,” staff Sergeant Annie Linteau told Independent.ie.

“We have requested that our Air Services unit conduct periodic flyovers of the area throughout the summer in the hopes that he will be located soon.”

The Mounties Victim Services unit is providing assistance to Mr Gavin’s family as the investigation continues, she said.

According to a group who are fundraising for the Gavin family the search will continue in a private capacity.

Mr Gavin’s family who flew to Canada at the weekend and have been maintaining a vigil at the search site.

The Irish Sporting and Social Club Vancouver has set up the  online fundraiser to help financially support the young man's family.

In an update on their gofundme page the club said:

"The RCMP have decided to call off the search but the search will be continuing privately. We want to thank everyone for their generosity and continuing support."

According to Rick Chartraw, owner of the Kinbasket Lake Resort camp ground near Golden, British Columbia, Mr Gavin was among a group of young Gaelic football players from Ireland who were travelling by car between Vancouver and Calgary.

"They stopped at the resort and asked if they could go for a swim," Mr Chartraw previously told the Irish Independent.

He told them they were welcome to jump off the resort's dock into the lake - a reservoir on the Columbia River.

"But unfortunately they saw a bridge over the Beaver River nearby and the young man jumped from the bridge to the river below," he said of the 20-metre drop.

"He surfaced and said he was OK but then disappeared," Mr Chartraw said.

The river itself is deep and it is very fast moving, he said of the tributary of the Columbia River which is fed by a glacier.

"We don't know what happened," he said.

Mr Gavin, who is a full-back for his club in Castlebar, was on transfer from the club to a Gaelic football club in Vancouver.

He had been playing for the Canadian club for only a few weeks.

Mr Gavin has been described as "a hugely popular young man".

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