Missing paddleboarder found safe in Missouri
August 21, 2015
A man, who was the subject of an 18-hour water search when a rented paddleboard was found drifting in Lake Tahoe, is safe … in Missouri.
Zbigniew Moryn spoke with South Lake Tahoe investigators 10 a.m. Tuesday, nearly a week after his paddleboard and Go-Pro Camera were found drifting off Timber Cove Marina.
Moryn told investigators, while on the rented paddle board on Aug. 12, a personal water craft had ridden close enough to him to cause a significant wake. This wake, combined with strong winds blowing across the water at the time, caused Moryn to fall off of the board into the cold water. The wind quickly carried his paddle board away from him. Moryn was not wearing a life jacket. He felt it was safer to swim to shore rather than to exhaust himself in an effort to retrieve the board. Once safely ashore he believed any attempt to find and retrieve the rented paddle board would have been useless for him. He abandoned the board to Lake Tahoe and returned the oar to the business where he rented the board with no further explanation. Shortly afterward Moryn left the Tahoe area to continue his travels.
Investigators received several helpful tips from the public who had seen media coverage of this case. These tips, combined with social media clues and leads located from Moryn's recovered GoPro camera, helped first to locate and speak with his traveling companion, who resides in the Arizona. The companion confirmed that Moryn was alive, and visiting from Poland. The companion led investigators to Missouri. Investigators contacted the Department of Homeland Security who confirmed Moryn's identity and the validity of his travel visa.
On Tuesday, Moryn called the department to confirm he was safe and was traveling to several areas of the United States during his visit. Moryn presented himself to local Missouri law enforcement authorities, who independently confirmed his status in order to close this case.
"The South Lake Tahoe Police Department credits the public response to this case for helping significantly in our ability to locate and confirm Moryn's identity and safety," said spokeswoman Tracy Franklin. "This is a good example of the public working in partnership with local law enforcement for the best of all possible outcomes."
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Moryn's GoPro camera is being mailed back to him.