Search for Nelson teacher suspended

No trace has been found of Alvin Dunic, missing since last Monday

3,300 volunteer man hours.

That’s how much time went into an exhaustive ground search for missing teacher Alvin Dunic in Crawford Bay this weekend, but now it’s being suspended until crews have a chance to more thoroughly explore a fast-flowing creek running through the area.

The 57-year-old school teacher has been missing since midday Monday, when he left his unlocked car on Woolgar Rd. near the Crawford Creek trailhead. On Sunday nearly 100 civilians, 60 search and rescue technicians and 19 swift water professionals participated in the search, which covered approximately two square kilometres of dense bush.

“We’ve searched the area thoroughly, but he does not seem to be there,” West Kootenay Public Information Officer Chris Armstrong told the Star.

“It’s not a big area, and we used a great deal of resources to clear it. All that’s left now is the river.”

The strange thing is that absolutely no trace of Dunic has been found — no signs of an animal attack, a fall, or anything else.

“It’s an unusual disappearance and we had a great deal of community involvement as he was so well known. Searchers search to find, we are driven and we will continue to search the river and follow up on and information that the RCMP receives.”

Dunic’s wife Teeka Ferguson has been at scene all weekend, along with their two daughters, in a hotel room with mental health support staff. She put out a heartfelt plea for volunteer searchers yesterday, and the number effectively doubled from Saturday to Sunday — all to no avail.

Armstrong plans to return as soon as water levels drop a bit. They’ve already rafted and swum the creek, breaking up log-jams and walking along the shore, but there remain some areas of interest to return to.

“This was a really good search, we just didn’t have any luck.”