Red Deer man Dustin Steele was last seen on Saturday near Terrace

No sign of Red Deer man missing in Skeena River

Safety concerns on Wednesday led search and rescue workers in northern B.C. to temporarily suspend the river search for a missing Red Deer man.

Safety concerns on Wednesday led search and rescue workers in northern B.C. to temporarily suspend the river search for a missing Red Deer man.

Dave Jephson, with Terrace Search and Rescue, said on Wednesday that they have located the Ford F150 truck that Dustin Steele, 23, was in. The truck is in the fast and cold Skeena River, but they have found no sign of the missing man.

Steele was last seen on Saturday night when he was with two other men in the area of Copper Flats, on the Skeena River, near where it converges with the Copper River, about 10 km east of Terrace.

“My understanding is they were down there just playing around on the rocks on the edge of the water. It’s a big sand flats and lots of people go down there with either four-by-fours or quads. It’s a common recreational area. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first victim, this isn’t the first vehicle … that’s gone in there,” said Jephson.

“They got stuck in there and the water was too strong and it pulled them in.

“Saturday night it rained really hard. The Skeena River’s a huge river. Unfortunately for us and the families, most people that go into the river never come back,” said Jephson, 47.

Jephson has 25 years of experience with search and rescue and is also deputy chief of the Terrace fire department.

The weather conditions have been difficult since search and rescue crews were first called out on Sunday. There’s been a lot of rain and wind, leading to the search on Monday also being suspended.

But they were back out on the water on Tuesday searching with sonar and were able to locate the truck. They then tried to search the vehicle with a camera but with the speed of the current, they were unsuccessful.

On Wednesday, Jephson was involved with an operation to hook the truck and drag it to shore.

“We had the vehicle hooked. We started pulling it to shore. The whole front end is totally under gravel, just in that many days, so you can see the nature of the water that we are dealing with.”

The chain broke off the truck.

“It’s like a torrential wind out here. We’re unable to hold the boat steady so we’re unable to get a second hook on (the truck).”

“The truck is one component of this. … We were hoping (Steele) was still kind of part of that truck or around the truck . We didn’t spot any of that today.

“Most important of all is trying to successfully locate Dustin but that’s obviously becoming more difficult as we go,” said Jephson.

“Searching for people in the Skeena River in vehicles and whatever is unfortunately too common for us. So we’ve kind of got good at it. But unfortunately we still can never provide closure to many families.”

Jephson said 98 per cent of the people who get lost in the Skeena River are never found.

RCMP were in the air with a helicopter on Tuesday and searched downstream about 20 km, said Jephson.

They did locate some items from the truck, including a shoe, about 15 km downstream. The truck was found about one km downstream from where it entered the river.

“This year I don’t know what’s going on. It’s just stupid. This is by far the busiest year for a small search and rescue organization. We are looking at probably over 40 calls this year. We normally average about 20. A lot of those have been too many deceased people. Lots in the river.”

Some of Steele’s family members have arrived in Terrace, Jephson said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

Heat warning in effect for Central Alberta

Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Central Alberta. Residents in… Continue reading

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Croatia gears up to give heroes’ welcome to World Cup team

ZAGREB, Croatia — Fans are pouring in from throughout the country as… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month