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

A man paddling alone capsized his newly purchased kayak on the Alouette River on Sunday, May 2. (Klamer Eggens/ Facebook)
Pitt Meadows Paddling Club provides water safety tips for canoers and kayakers

Katie Stein-Sather says: know how to swim, go with friends, be aware of boat and surroundings

Grass Greetings of Pitt Meadows were the opening day sponsor for the Haney Farmers Market on Saturday. (Special to The News)
Great start to Haney Farmers Market

Market returns Saturday mornings in downtown Maple Ridge

Gardeners at the Intergenerational Garden participated in the Grow-A-Row program for the Friends In Need Food Bank in previous years. (The News files)
Grow-A-Row for the food bank in Maple Ridge

Friends In Need Food Bank in need of gardeners to produce fresh produce

Townhomes at ERA Maple Ridge became a hot commodity as house prices soared past $1 million. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Sales at ERA Maple Ridge show sizzling market

Downtown development sells 13 townhomes one Sunday

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

FILE – A plexiglass barrier is pictured creating a barrier to protect a cashier at a grocery store in North Vancouver, B.C. Sunday, March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Grocery store workers now eligible for COVID vaccines in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal

Workers will be fast-tracked through the system, which is otherwise booking for people in their 50s

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

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

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Ripy Jubbal of Abbotsford has received a 30-month jail sentence for the fraudulent use of credit cards and credit card data. (Facebook photo)
Abbotsford woman sentenced for $80K in fraudulent credit card purchases

Ripy Jubbal and spouse used identities of 19 different victims, court hears

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

Most Read