Body of kayaker missing since June recovered
August 30, 2017
Less than a month after recovering the body of a University of Nevada, Reno football player from Lake Tahoe, a nonprofit specializing in such operations has found a kayaker missing since June.
The body of Dan Vu Thanh Pham, a 41-year-old San Leandro resident, was found Saturday in 245 feet of water off of Rubicon Point north of Emerald Bay, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
Pham set off in a kayak from Lester Beach to meet a friend at a campsite in Emerald Bay the morning of June 8. The outing was part of a long-planned camping trip. When Pham failed to arrive, the friend contacted a park ranger, which sparked the initial search.
Those efforts involved El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, California State Parks, Douglas County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, Douglas County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
Search and rescue K9 teams located an area of interest off Rubicon Point but couldn't locate Pham.
Bruce's Legacy, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that specializes in search and recovery operations for drowning victims, arrived in South Lake Tahoe on Saturday at the request of local officials and family members.
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Bruce's Legacy has located 18 drowning victims — including a victim from Stampede Reservoir near Truckee a few days ago — in four years by using side scan sonar and an underwater remote operating vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.
The nonprofit found the body of University of Nevada, Reno, football player Marc Ma on July 31. Ma, 20, was presumed to have drowned while paddle boarding with a group of athletes from UNR on June 10, 2016.
Pham's body was recovered after being brought to the surface by the ROV, the sheriff's office said. The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Coroner Division and South Lake Tahoe detectives are handling the investigation.
Throughout the search, the Pham family has expressed gratitude for everyone's efforts.
"The amount of support we received from social media, friends, the Coast Guard, and the sheriff's department, it was an outpouring of love," Philip Pham, Dan's younger brother said.
The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office extended its deepest condolences to the Pham family, as did Bruce's Legacy in an online post.
"We wish all his friends and family our condolences."