HOMEWOOD, Calif. — Authorities suspending the search for a University of Nevada football player Mark Ma, who went missing in Lake Tahoe while paddle boarding.
Officials told KOLO Channel 8 they are waiting for special search teams who use sonar, which could take two or three days. Ma has been missing since Friday.
Ma was with several other Nevada players on a paddle board trip at Lake Tahoe’s west shore. The group found themselves in trouble about 1.7 miles offshore, as high winds caused 3- to 5-foot swells, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Ma was the most experienced paddle boarder, the sheriff’s office said.
“Everyone else in the group had been washed off their boards,” according to information released by the sheriff’s office.
“Mark headed back to shore to get help. Obexer’s Marina staff saw the group was in danger and headed out to rescue them. While heading toward the group they saw Mark by his paddle board to the north of the marina, toward the Homewood buoy field. After rescuing the group they returned to where they had seen Mark. They found his board adrift and Mark was missing.”
An extensive search was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Placer, Washoe and El Dorado County Sheriff’s Offices, North Tahoe, Washoe and Meeks Bay Fire. The search efforts include shoreline and lake searching using water vessels and air support.
He was only wearing swim trunks and wasn’t wearing a personal floatation device.
Placer County efforts was ongoing and a specific plan was being developed to use allied agencies and specialized side-scan sonar equipment for operations at the point last seen, which is approximately 150- to 300-feet deep. Allied agency divers will have to acclimate to the altitude before they can participate in further operations.
According to a news release from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, personnel were dispatched at 3:23 p.m. Friday to a report of a missing paddleboarder roughly 700 yards off shore near the marina at Obexer’s Boat Company in Homewood.
“Rescue personnel met with fellow paddle boarders who stated they had turned toward shore due to the high winds,” officials said, and one of the paddleboarders didn’t return.