Dustin Steele

Dustin Steele

Search continues for missing Red Deer man

Trust accounts have been set up to help family members who continue to search for a young Red Deer man missing in Northern B.C. for a week today.

Trust accounts have been set up to help family members who continue to search for a young Red Deer man missing in Northern B.C. for a week today.

Dustin Steele, 23, has not been seen since last Saturday night, when a pickup truck he was travelling in with two co-workers got stuck in the Skeena River, about 10 km east of Terrace, B.C. The three men had been part of a crew building a new Ramada Hotel in Kitimat.

They were enjoying some time off at an area known as Copper Flats when their truck got stuck in the water and was pulled under by strong currents.

Steele’s companions were able to get to shore, but he had disappeared.

In Red Deer on Friday, Dustin’s grandmother, Edith Steele, said his father and teenaged brother, Dwayne and Austin, are still in the area with other members of the family.

Edith said her grandson loves the outdoors and has good survival skills, so if he made it out of the river, he would likely be able to look after himself. Nearly a week sinice his disappearance, however, she can only hope that he will be found alive.

“I believe in miracles, too, but I feel he’s with the Lord.”

Steele said that, from what Dwayne has told her, Dustin has become a victim of his own generosity.

“Dus would always go one step more. He’d do anything for anybody,” she said.

“He was in the back of the truck, trying to hook a chain on it, and he told the other two boys to jump and swim. I don’t know why he didn’t let the dang chain go and jump and swim himself.”

She said Dwayne and Austin are committed to finding Dustin and bringing him home.

Bad weather has played havoc with the search, including grounding a helicopter that had been used earlier in the week when there were a couple of nice days.

The truck was located under water on Wednesday and pulled to shore on Friday.

The only sign of Dustin has been one of his shoes, found 11 kilometres downstream.

Dustin had just been to Lloydminster with a workmate who had purchased an identical pair, so that’s how they were able to confirm it was his, said Edith.

Searchers hope during the next few days to check out a number of islands in the river as well as some cabins across from the site where the truck went in.

Edith and her nephew, Bryon Miller, spent the day on Friday setting up bank accounts to help feed and house the searchers, including those who took time off work to find Dustin. Work was shut down in Kitimat so members of the construction crew could help out, said Miller.

He and his aunt set up an account at the ATB, and then added another at TD Canada Trust because ATB doesn’t operate outside of Alberta.

Anyone interested in helping out can contribute to the accounts by asking for the Edith Steele account, in trust for Dustin Steele.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com