An aerial view of the spot on Muchalat lake that the Nootka Sound RCMP have recorded as the last known site of Silvio Strussi from 1970. The National Underwater Training Centre of the RCMP will conduct a search operation this week. Photo courtesy, Nootka Sound RCMP

An aerial view of the spot on Muchalat lake that the Nootka Sound RCMP have recorded as the last known site of Silvio Strussi from 1970. The National Underwater Training Centre of the RCMP will conduct a search operation this week. Photo courtesy, Nootka Sound RCMP

RCMP dive team to search for man missing since 1970 in remote Vancouver Island lake

Divers join family quest to locate grandfather’s final resting place on Muchalat Lake near Gold River

A specialized RCMP dive unit is headed to a remote northern Vancouver Island lake today in an effort to help close a 50-year-old wound.

The team is headed to Muchalat Lake near Gold River, packing their latest technology in an attempt to locate the body of a logger who died there in 1970.

Sgt. Jay White, head of the National Underwater Training Centre in Nanaimo decided to pursue the case of logger Silvio Strussi – whose body was never recovered after he died in an industrial accident – after Strussi’s grandchildren shared their quest for closure in the Campbell River Mirror.

Strussi, 40, was part of the road-building crew with the now defunct Tahsis Company and was operating a bulldozer when it tumbled into the lake.

READ MORE: Closing a 50-year-old wound on a remote Vancouver Island lake

The RCMP reached out to Kimberly Chastellaine and Sean Smith, who have been on a journey to find the last resting place of their late grandfather who died when their mother was 16-years-old.

A team consisting of White and two other divers will be in Gold River Nov. 6 to conduct a preliminary sweep of the area. He told the Mirror the team is looking forward to testing the capability of some newly acquired equipment with this case. Following which the team will launch their boat on Saturday and begin their search from the last known site of the body in the lake, then expand to other areas if necessary.

The team will be using a new remote operated vehicle (ROV) they acquired from a Vancouver Island-based operator. The robot will be controlled from the boat and can go to a depth of 10,000 feet, said White.

Along with the ROV they will also use sonar technology – that uses sound waves to detect underwater objects – to locate the bulldozer that Strussi was operating during the time of the accident.

The expedition could take anywhere between three hours to three days depending on the weather, said White who is keeping his “fingers crossed” for a successful expedition.

The dive team will be collaborating with the Nootka Sound RCMP in Gold River where the case file is still open. The Nootka Sound detachment will be providing the dive unit with the GPS coordinates of the last known site of the accident.

The police said they still monitor all the historical missing-persons files from the ‘60s. Most are cases of those who have gone missing at sea.

“Investigators routinely go to the last known spots to see if any new evidence has washed ashore,” said Cpl. Kimberly Rutherford from the Nootka Sound detachment.

She also said that having the underwater team come in is a “big step” for the detachment as it provides technological support for such cases.

While Rutherford is “excited,” she also said that reopening a missing person’s file brings about a lot of emotions.

“We try our best to be compassionate to the families and our hope to bring closure to the families,” she said.

A couple of weeks ago, Chastellaine and Smith visited Gold River and were taken to the spot on the lake where the locals believe is their grandfather’s last resting place.

The family is expected to visit Gold River again over the weekend as the dive team begin with their search operation.

RELATED: Closing a 50-year-old wound on a remote Vancouver Island lake

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Gold RiverRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Terrace RCMP are searching for Kenton David Fast, who is unlawfully at large. (Terrace RCMP Photo)
Terrace RCMP searching for man unlawfully at large

Kenton David Fast was last seen in Terrace on Dec. 1, 2020

Traffic controllers Hayley Stevens (left) and Hector Blackwater (right) have been recognized by drivers for their friendly waves, smiles and dance moves while working south of Terrace. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
Skeena Voices | Positivity is just part of being a flagger

Hector Blackwater and Hayley Stevens have been drawing attention on social media

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross has been named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy for the BC Liberals. (Peter Versteege photo)
Skeena MLA Ellis Ross named critic for Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Previously, Ross was the critic for LNG, Resource Opportunities, and Responsible Development

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Ash and Lisa Van carry a freshly cut Christmas tree while wearing personal protective masks at a Christmas Tree Farm in Egbert, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Cole Burston
‘Everyone wants a tree and they want it now’: Christmas tree sales on pace for record

Anticipated demand for Christmas trees has sparked a rush by some to purchase more trees wholesale

Business groups have been advocating for years that local approvals for construction in B.C. are too long and restricted, and that B.C.’s outdates sales tax deter business investment. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents worried about COVID-19 deficit, business survey finds

Respondents support faster local approvals, value added tax

Most Read