SAR cancels search for missing man in Salmo area

The search for Harsha Pagadugu has been cancelled.

About 100 search and rescue personnel from around the Kootenays with 2 SAR dogs, as well as RCMP who called in a helicopter and drone for aerial support, were unable to find the 30-year-old man despite a four-day intensive research in the Salmo region.

They were able to track his movements after finding clothes, shoes, receipts and other personal effects. His suitcase was also turned over to the RCMP.

South Columbia search and rescue officials said the four-day operation in steep terrain and scorching heat was exhausting.

They said Salmo RCMP complied with all their requests and residents were kind enough to allow volunteers to look through vehicles, trailers, outside buildings and their properties.

The volunteers also had access to the school for breaks and protection from the heat.

The effort was very well organized as Kimberley Search and Rescue and their leadership team conducted overnight planning sessions and mapped search areas while the command unit could rest and start early each morning.

The whole team from South Columbia, Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Creston, Kaslo, Kimberley and Grand Forks were disappointed that they could not find Paladugu who disappeared after the Shambhala Music Festival.

South Columbia Search and Rescue will mobilize again if new clues emerge.

Brandon D. James