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Search for Harsha Paladugu suspended

The search for a man missing since Shambhala has been called off after four days.

South Columbia Search and Rescue says the effort started Thursday and concluded today. They were unable to find Harsha Paladugu, 30, despite  knocking on doors and searching “some tough terrain.”

Search manager Mike Hudson says over 100 searchers from his organization as well as others in Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Creston, Kaslo, Cranbrook, Kimberley, and Grand Forks participated in a “very exhausting search” in extreme heat.

“We completed over 8,000 hours of searching over the four days and unfortunately we’re unable to locate our subject,” Hudson said in a news release.

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“We were able to find his personal belongings, clothing, shoes, credit card and receipts to help establish a timeline of his whereabouts and some sort of direction of travel.”

On Friday, an RCMP helicopter flew the length of the Salmo River. Hudson said an RCMP drone and two search and rescue dogs were also involved.

“After careful consideration and the exhausting efforts the decision was made to suspend search efforts until further information or clues become available,” he said.

“This is a tough result for not only the subject’s family and friends but our searchers who have put countless hours into search efforts.”

Among others, Hudson praised Salmo RCMP and residents who accommodated them and allowed them to search their properties, out buildings, vehicles and trailers.

Police said Paladugu was supposed to visit a friend in Toronto after Shambhala but never arrived. Investigators determined he flew from California to Vancouver on July 20 and stayed with a friend, then left the next morning to attend Shambhala through a ride share.

There was a report that he was seen on July 27 sitting at the junction of Highways 3 and 6 beside a suitcase. The suitcase, which police recovered, was confirmed to belong to Paladugu.

Police say there were also reports of a man running through yards in Salmo that evening. They believe it was Paladugu, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

He’s five-foot-ten, 200 pounds, with black hair.

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