The search for a college football player who presumably drowned June 10 during a Lake Tahoe paddleboard excursion has been suspended indefinitely, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday.
Marc Ma, 20, ventured with several other football players from the University of Nevada, Reno, on a paddleboarding trip about 2 miles offshore near the Obexer Marina. High winds causing 3- to 5-foot swells knocked the boarders into the water, the Sheriff’s Office said.
It said Wednesday on Twitter that it suspended the search because of Lake Tahoe’s deep water and a belief that a “steeply sloping lake bottom covered with boulders has concealed his final location.”
Ma was considered the most experienced paddleboarder in the group and began to head back to shore to seek help. Staff members at the marina headed out to rescue the group, but Ma disappeared and his board was adrift with his life vest attached, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Dena Erwin. One out of six football players was wearing a life vest, she said.
Sonar expert Gene Ralston, along with deputies and staff members from the Sheriff’s Office, Kern County Sheriff’s Office and Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue teams, searched the bottom of the lake.
Ralston began assisting the search June 16 because of his high-tech, side-scan sonar equipment that can reach depths close to 1,000 feet.
A memorial at UNR was held for Ma that same day. He played defensive end and on special teams for the Division I football program after graduating from high school in Hawaii.
Bill Teerlinck, Ma’s UNR football coach, tweeted June 11: “Marc Ma is why I love being a coach, all he did was do right. Always on time, all out effort, and big smile ALWAYS! Miss you every day #59.”