Crime - Sacto 911

High-tech team recovers body believed to be paddle boarder missing in Lake Tahoe

A body believed to be that of a college student presumed to have drowned in Lake Tahoe in June 2016 was recovered Monday afternoon near the area where he was last seen.

A high-tech search team hired by the family of 20-year-old Marc Ma was located about 1:05 p.m., according to a Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post. A camera spotted the body in about 240 feet of water near the West Shore Cafe. The body was brought to shore with assistance from of the Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ma’s family commissioned the search with a special vessel that can scan deep water.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies searched unsuccessfully for Marc Ma, 20, for multiple days after he disappeared, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Ma, a football player from Hawaii who attended the University of Nevada, Reno, was paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe with friends when winds created choppy water.

Crews from a marina managed to save Ma’s friends but not Ma, who wasn’t wearing a personal flotation device, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Ma’s family hired Bruce’s Legacy, a Wisconsin-based company that recovers drowning victims, to look for Ma’s body this past weekend, Monday and Tuesday. Bruce’s Legacy’s search vessels tow four-foot-long devices resembling torpedos that emit sonar pulses, according to the company’s website. Software on the boats collects data from the sound emissions and turns them into images.

The boats’ technology can scan up to 700 feet deep into the water, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Ma’s father Michael had one request of the Sheriff’s Office, the office reported.

“(He) asked that we mention one very important thing: Always wear a personal flotation device,” read a Sunday post on the Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page. “If Marc had been wearing one, the Ma family would not be searching for their son’s body.”

Hannah Knowles: 916-321-1141, @KnowlesHannah

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