Michael Eather: Family of Australian missing in Guatemala plead for help after tubing accident.

By Emily Sakzewski

The family of a Brisbane man who went missing more than 10 days ago after a tubing accident in Guatemala are losing hope that he will be found alive.

Michael Eather went tubing with a friend in the early hours on Monday, January 23.

Their tube capsized in fast-flowing rapids on the Rio Cahabon and the two were swept apart.

While his friend was found the following day wandering around confused in the jungle, no-one has seen the 23-year-old since.

From the other side of the world, his mother Tracy Eather has spent the last 10 days trying to get information on the search for her son.

“I’m realistic of what the situation or outcome will possibly be, but until we know we don’t know,” she told the ABC.

“Him and another friend had entered the river, the rapids, they’d gone over a big drop and separated in the water. That was the last time his friend saw him,” Ms Eather said.

The Brisbane electrician left Australia in August 2016 for the trip of a lifetime — travelling the US, Canada and South America.

In the week before his accident, Mr Eather had been travelling with a close group of friends through Antigua.

He had been staying at a hostel in Guatemala where he was volunteering.

His family describe him as a “fun-loving and adventurous young man”.

“So many people love Michael. He is intelligent and witty, loves life and recently caught the travel bug and was keen to explore the world,” a statement provided by his family said.

“He was very excited about his overseas trip and spent months planning it.

“Obviously, we are all feeling extremely distressed and anxious and we want to do as much as we can to ensure Michael is found and brought home safely.”

His brother, Brendan Perret described his brother as “witty”, “outgoing”, and “a ratbag”.

Search efforts have been hampered by dangerous conditions, harsh terrain and poor communication in the remote area.

The Eather family have set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help pay for specialist equipment, including underwater cameras that could detect if he had been caught in the undercurrent — equipment that is not currently available in Guatemala.


The campaign quickly gained momentum, reaching its goal of $25,000 in just over 24 hours.

“We are overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone who has contributed, regardless of the amount,” Ms Eather said.

But Mr Perrett said organising what equipment was needed and how to get it to Guatemala was a logistical nightmare.

“It’s just taking too long and it’s too hard. We need help, we really need help.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Guatemalan authorities have been sending constant updates on the search efforts to Michael Eather’s family, who desperately await any news.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

© 2017 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. Read the ABC Disclaimer here