The RCMP dive team that searched for the remains of a logger that died in Muchalat Lake near Gold River in 1970 was unsuccessful.
A three-person dive team had gone to Gold River on Nov. 6, to conduct a training exercise in Muchalat Lake to test the new sonar technology that they had acquired and to try and see if they could solve some of the missing person cases with the Nootka Sound RCMP.
In an update, Sgt. Jay White, the head of National Underwater Training Centre in Nanaimo and leader of the expedition, said that after four days of searching, the team was not able to locate the missing person’s remains.
According to White, in 1970, a huge portion of a road collapsed into the lake and took Silvio Strussi’s bulldozer with it.
The team started searching from a spot on the lake that locals believed was Strussi’s last known location. Oil bubbles coming to the surface at that spot over the years led everyone to believe that they were coming from Strussi’s bulldozer.
However, White and his team found out on Saturday that the oil bubbles were coming from another vehicle at the bottom of the lake.
After searching several spots, White said that when the road collapsed back in the day, there was a significant amount of debris that went into the lake.
“We found hundreds of vehicle-sized boulders at the bottom of the lake along the path where the road collapsed,” said White. And if Strussi’s remains and the bulldozer are submerged under the debris, the Sonar would not have been able to locate them, he said.
There were two other cases of people who went missing in the lake–including William Sylvester who died in a floatplane accident in 1968 – and the police dive team searched specific spots on the lake for any remains or fresh clues. However, nothing was found.
In an effort to mark the final resting place of their grandfather, Strussi’s grandchildren–Kimberly Chastellaine and Sean Smith–had reached out to community members from Gold River last month.
The RCMP dive unit read about their quest and offered to include searching for his remains as part of their training exercise in the lake.