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

Abbotsford resident Leonna Dunning is now $50,000 richer after a big win on a scratch ticket. (Submitted)
Abbotsford woman wins $50,000 on scratch ticket

Leona Dunning purchased winning ticket at 7-11 on McCallum Road

Google Maps image.
Four more school exposures in Abbotsford

Two public and two private schools record exposures from Nov. 16 to 19

Google Maps screenshot taken at 6:07 a.m.
TRAFFIC: Westbound dump-truck crash on Highway 1

Crash occurred around 6:45 a.m., west of 232nd Street in Langley

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Mission Fire Rescue Service holding a training session in 2016. Bob Friesen photo.
Firefighter’s human-rights complaint against District of Mission dismissed

District had just reason for firing man for insubordination, B.C. Human Rights Tribunal found

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

The online poster for Joel Goddard, who left his Willoughby home Nov. 10, 2020, has been updated by his family and friends who received word that he’s been found.
Langley man missing since Nov. 10 found alive and safe in Abbotsford

Family of the Willoughby area man had been searching for days. Police find him at Abbotsford Airport

A UBC study recommends an multi-government investment of $381 million to protect 102 species at risk in the Fraser River estuary. (Photo supplied by Yuri Choufour)
102 Fraser River estuary species at risk of extinction, researchers warn

UBC team develops $381-million strategy to combat crisis, boost economy

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

File photo
Surrey RCMP arrest man accused of threatening city councillor, prime minister

Surrey Councillor Jack Hundial said he received a death threat ‘that basically said to put a bullet in me’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The grey region of this chart shows the growth of untraced infection, due to lack of information on potential sources. With added staff and reorganization, the gap is stabilized, Dr. Bonnie Henry says. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 tracing to keep up with surging cases

People now notified of test results by text message

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read