Montreal

$40K and counting raised to help find Quebec scuba diver, missing in Mexico

Cameron Donaldson has been missing since Saturday. He was diving off the Mexican coast and never made it back to shore.

Cameron Donaldson was diving off the coast of Cozumel Saturday and never made it back to shore

Cameron Donaldson went missing while scuba diving with his mother in Mexico Saturday and now his friends and family are searching for him, holding onto the hope that he is alive. (Facebook/Cameron Donaldson)

Search and rescue efforts are underway to find a Quebec man who has gone missing in Mexico.

Cameron Donaldson was scuba-diving off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico with his mother and never surfaced, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for the search.

She returned to shore, but her son, an experienced diver and instructor, did not.

Donaldson, who lives in Mexico for part of the year, has a Facebook page filled with colourful underwater photography.

During the summer, Donaldson lives in Waskaganish, Que., where he does therapeutic diving with people with disabilities or post-traumatic stress disorder. Waskaganish is located on the James Bay, about 800 kilometres north of Montreal.

In just one day, the GoFundMe campaign raised more than $40,000.

His friend Kimberley Moore, who is running the online fundraiser, said he has "the most generous and kind spirit" and is widely admired by everyone who has interacted with him.

Her husband Ray Moore, also a friend of Donaldson's, said everyone who knows Donaldson has a story of how he has helped them.

"He taught my wife things that she wouldn't have been able to hear from anyone else, because while correcting something she was doing, he does it in such a way that you can't get defensive about it," he said.

"Everything he does is done with such pure love that you just know all he's doing is helping you."

Mexican authorities are leading the search to find Donaldson, but his friends and family have chartered private search and rescue planes and helicopters at a cost of approximately $600 per hour, the GoFundMe page says.

The search will continue as long as the funds last, Ray Moore said.

"Right now, we're taking it one day at a time, and no one is discussing how long the search will continue. We're discussing how we're going to find Cameron."

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said consular officials are providing assistance to Donaldson's family and are in contact with local authorities to gather additional information, but due to privacy concerns, no other information can be disclosed.

With files from Kate McKenna

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