The family of Prabhdeep Srawn, an Ontario man who went missing in Australia, has returned to Canada because of visa restrictions.
"The family is only back because of visa restrictions," tweeted Dr. Tej Sahota, who is married to Srawn's cousin. "They have not given up hope or the search."
Srawn, a Hamilton native whose family now lives in Brampton, went missing on May 13 during a bushwalk in the Snowy Mountains near the Australian capital of Canberra. Since then, volunteers have been scouring the area to find the former Canadian Forces reservist.
"Once visa issues are resolved and weather allows, several members plan to head back to Jindabyne and continue," Sahota said.
"Many of the hikers and rescue workers, upwards of 30, have indicated that once the winter passes, they will help out and rejoin the search." The family has been holding out hope that he could be found alive because of special cold weather military training.
The missing man's family has been critical of how local police handled the search. The operation was scaled back in late May due to poor weather, prompting Srawn's family to offer first $100,000 to anyone who "rescues or recovers" him.
Sahota says the family hopes that once weather allows, local police will start searching again in "an official manner."
"There are no plans for a memorial, or for a service or anything of that nature," he said. "The search will continue as it had been, and we will deal with outcomes in real time. [There is] no use in pre-planning for potential outcomes."
In June, search teams found footprints in the region that Srawn disappeared that they thought may belong to him. On May 22, volunteers reported possibly hearing a voice calling for 'help' in the vicinity of the remote Lady Northcote area of the Snowy Mountains.