Officials in South Lake Tahoe are scheduled to resume searches Friday for an unidentified man who is feared to have fallen from a rented stand-up paddle board on the lake on Wednesday.
“Our Marine Unit will be on the water today and continuing as they are able. We are expecting high winds (today), which lowers visibility,” said Lt. Brian Williams of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.
Williams said windy conditions on the lake Thursday made the search difficult.
“We still have hopes that he made it to shore,” Williams said.
A paddle believed to be used with the paddle board was found Thursday in about 8 feet of water near where the board was found Wednesday afternoon about a mile away from Timber Cove Marina. The board was discovered near a drop to an area of the lake several hundred feet deep, but police said no technology was available for a deep-water search.
The paddle board, which belonged to the rental business South Tahoe Standup Paddle, along with a GoPro camera, selfie stick and life jacket, were found by a boater on the lake about half a mile offshore between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
The boater returned the board and gear to the store, where an employee found the board had been rented for a one-hour time period about an hour before.
The renter had identified himself only as “Morym” and had a “thick foreign accent of unidentified origin,” police said. He paid with cash and left no phone number, credit card number or other personal information.
Police did not find the man during a search of the lakeshore Wednesday evening. He has not been reported missing by anyone.
Williams said police are treating the investigation as a missing-person case.
“The waters of Lake Tahoe are always cold,” he said. “Hypothermia is always a very high risk for anyone in the water longer than 10 minutes.”
A video found on the camera on Thursday led police to the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort, where officials found a photograph taken with a ski resort camera of the missing man with an unidentified companion on a gondola. The companion was in other photos that appeared to have been taken in the area.
Other GoPro photographs date back to at least the past six months, and several were taken in other countries, including Italy and the United Arab Emirates, police said. Authorities believe the man is a foreign visitor.
Police are encouraging anyone with information about the missing man or his companion in the photographs to contact the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 530-542-6100.