Family of missing kayaker continues search at Lake Tahoe
June 15, 2017
Today a team of divers will be out near D.L. Bliss State Park looking for any signs of a kayaker who has been missing since Thursday.
Dan Vu Thanh Pham, a 41-year-old San Leandro resident, was last heard from Thursday morning when he set off in a kayak from Lester Beach area around 9:15 a.m. to meet a friend at a campsite in Emerald Bay.
"Dan and his friend had been planning this camping trip for six months," said Elaine Pham, Dan's sister-in-law.
Dan's friend was set to launch his boat from Zephyr Cove to meet Dan, but got held up and didn't arrive at the campsite until around 3 p.m.
"We're told that he continued to call to try to inform Dan he was running behind, but there was no answer," continued Elaine.
The friend notified the park rangers at the campsite when Dan wasn't there and went out on his boat to search for him.
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"He didn't get very far because of the windy conditions," said Elaine.
Officials from El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Coast Guard, and California State Parks searched until midnight on Thursday and resumed again at 6 a.m. on Friday. However, declining weather conditions suspended the search Friday afternoon.
Limited search efforts continued over the weekend, including help on-foot and by-boat from members of the Pham family who came to the South Shore from Union City.
"The amount of support we received from social media, friends, the Coast Guard, and the sheriff's department, it was an outpour of love," said Philip Pham, Dan's younger brother. "We had people offering their boats up and one guy in particular, Captain Steve, he took me in his boat to parts of the lake that I wanted to search, but the rental company wouldn't let me go in those conditions."
Though the search effort didn't yield any clues to Dan's whereabouts, the support shown by this community member touched Philip.
"He looked at me and apologized with tears streaming down his face, and we sat there hugging and crying," said Philip. "I want to put something out there about the amount of support we have received and how much it means to us."
According to the Pham family, if the divers don't find anything today, law enforcement officials won't be able to put any more resources into the search.
The Pham family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money to continue the search for Dan on their own. In just two days they exceeded their $10,000 goal by over $4,000. They plan to use the money to hire underwater and air drone pilots to continue searching for Dan.
"He's just really the kind of guy that you want to be around and have around you," said Elaine. "So positive and goofy and playful. He loved the outdoors. That was his passion."
Dan is also a single dad to a 15-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy.
Dan is described as an adult Filipino male. He is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 155 pounds. He has a muscular build, short dark hair and multiple tattoos on his shoulder and chest. The kayak is 10 feet long.
Anyone who spots somebody matching that description is instructed to dial 911 or call 530-621-6600.