LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) – The body presumed to be a University of Nevada Reno football player has been recovered from the bottom of the lake after disappearing from his paddle board last year.
It’s a recovery mission Keith Cormican has set out on dozens of times across the country, but not every mission is successful.
“I knew this was a tough one. This lake is absolutely horrendous underneath,” Cormican said.
While back at home in Wisconsin, he received a call from the Ma family earlier this year after losing hope. Their 20-year-old son Marc disappeared one stormy day last June into the lake.
“I warned them that this was a very difficult search area and try not to give them any high hopes,” he said.
Already on another mission in California, Cormican came to answer their call.
“I was very, very nervous coming into this one,” he added.
Rescuers spent days after Ma’s disappearance, but with no luck.
“We did as much as we could, and we were on the search before we called it,” said Sgt. Dave Hunt with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
Another sonar team attempted to find Ma but were unsuccessful.
Cormican said it was challenging, but feels blessed to have found him.
“It’s bittersweet to see a drowning victim,” he said.
After two days in rough terrain under the lake and 240 feet deep, he found what he came for just before 1 p.m. Monday — just two days into the search — using sonar equipment and a specialized robotic camera system.
“To know that we just successfully found him is amazing, it really is,” he said.
Ma was a University of Nevada Reno Football player from Hawaii. Not being able to bring their son home, Hunt said, has been heartbreaking for the family.
“There’s a lot of times where we don’t recover the bodies out here. The lake keeps its dead sometimes,” he said.
Cormican has dedicated his life to providing families with closure in honor of his brother, killed while on a rescue mission.
He hopes the Mas too can now have peace in knowing Marc is finally heading home.
“Now they have their son back,” Cormican said.
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