Search called off for body of UNR football player in Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Search called off for body of UNR football player in Lake Tahoe

Staff report

The UNR Athletics Department tweeted this image of Marc Ma to share its respects.

HOMEWOOD, Calif. — Officials called off the search this week for University of Nevada football player Marc Ma, who is presumed dead after falling off his paddleboard into Lake Tahoe amid windy and white-cap conditions on June 10.

"The ongoing recovery effort to locate Marc Ma … has ended with no sign of Marc's remains," according to a statement Wednesday from the Placer County Sheriff's Office.

According to previous reports, the 20-year-old Ma — a sophomore defensive end for the Wolf Pack and a Honolulu, Hawaii, native — was on a paddleboard trip to Tahoe on June 10 with several football players.

The group was paddleboarding about 1.7 miles off Lake Tahoe's West Shore when they encountered strong winds that caused 3- to 5-foot swells.

According to the sheriff's office, Ma headed back to shore to get help. At around the same time, nearby Obexer's Marina staff saw the boarders were in danger and headed out to rescue them.

While heading toward the group, they saw Ma by his paddleboard to the north of the marina, the report said. After rescuing the group, they returned to where they had seen Ma, but found his board adrift and him missing.

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He was not wearing a life jacket, according to PCSO.

"Had it not been for the alert boat operators from (Obexer's) marina and their quick action, it is quite likely that further loss of life or injury would have occurred," according to the PCSO statement this week.

Although the initial search had been suspended several days due to windy conditions and depth of the water where he was last seen (150 to 300 feet), a comprehensive attempt to recover his remains began June 16, using sophisticated side-scan sonar and remotely operated underwater cameras that were not available during the initial search.

"Despite the comprehensive effort by multiple experts, the deep water and a steeply sloping lake bottom covered with boulders has concealed his final location," according to PCSO.