The family of 26-year-old Irish David Gavin are appealing to locals for help in locating the man who is now presumed drowned.
David was travelling with his Gaelic football team, heading to Calgary for a tournament, when the group decided to stop in the Kinbasket area for a swim on the afternoon of June 30. After swimming around the boat launch area the group spotted a bridge over Beaver Creek.
David’s girlfriend Ciara said he was the first to jump off the bridge, and after resurfacing and taking a few strokes, he went back under and was taken away by the undercurrents. Ciara travelled to Golden from their home in Vancouver that evening, and the rest of David’s family (parents Michael and Angela, and sister Aoife) flew in from Ireland on Sunday.
The family says they are grateful to the local authorities who have been conducting the search (which included Golden and District Search and Rescue, boats, dogs, BC RCMP Underwater Recovery Team, and RCMP Air Services), but since the RCMP called off the search on July 4 they have starting using other means.
The family has hired a private professional underwater search team to explore the Columbia River. But they are also hoping that local boat owners will be willing to help with the effort.
“We do have the private underwater search team on the Columbia River, but we are also appealing to local boat owners and asking that they help search the area, from the harbour up Kinbasket,” said Michael.
Local Larry Nolan will be coordinating the search on the lake as he is very familiar with the area. So any boaters who do not know Kinbasket well can still help with the search, and be guided through the area. Unfortunately a ground search is not possible, and the shoreline around the lake is not safe.
“We would really like this to come to a conclusion,” added Michael.
The Gavin family is also warning people to be careful when recreating in unfamiliar water. David was unaware of the local conditions when he jumped off the bridge, and took an unfortunate risk.
“Please don’t jump into water that you don’t know.”
David was very involved in the international Gaelic football community, and was a member of Vancouver’s Irish Sporting and Social Club (ISSC). It was the ISSC team he was travelling to Calgary with to compete in the Western Canadian Championship.
The ISSC set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with search expenses, which are currently coming out of pocket. Anyone wishing to support the family can do so at www.gofundme.com/emergency-supporting-david-gavin, and any boat owners who would like to help with the search should contact Nolan at 250-272-3413.