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Missing Tahoe Boater Ryan Normoyle Recovered From More Than 1,500 Feet Under Water

LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) — After more than a month of effort from several agencies across Northern California, the body of a 29-year-old New Jersey man was found at the bottom of Lake Tahoe and will be returned to his family.

During a three-week vacation to California in August, Ryan Normoyle paid a visit to Lake Tahoe and rented a boat for two hours to explore the waters. His vacation that quickly turned deadly and the last moments of his life were captured on camera.

"The cellphone video basically shows him jumping off the boat. It looks like he was playing around playing in the water didn't know the boat was in gear and he wasn't able to make it back to the boat," Lt. Travis Cabral with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department said.

The 29-year-old, who's mom describes him as a talented woodworker with a big heart, drowned after police say rough waters made it impossible for him to save himself.

Agencies including the South Lake Tahoe Police Department worked to help track down Normoyle's body. UC Davis research team even got involved, looking at weather conditions and the currents activity, to help find him.

Swipe through pictures from the rescue below:

(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)
(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)
(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)
(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)
(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)
(credit: Washoe Co Sheriff)

But it wasn't until Bruce's Legacy, a nonprofit group specializing in search and recovery, got involved that they found some success. The organization used underwater sonar to find Normoyle.

"It was a definite body image. We drove the ROV up to him and grabbed a hold of his wrists," Keith Cormican with Bruce's Legacy said.

Cormican says this was the deepest water recovery effort ever conducted North America and it wasn't easy.

"The water grew really rough we had three or four-foot waves up there," Cormican said.

But finally, after three days of trial and error, the body of Ryan Normoyle was brought up 1,500 feet to the surface. A rare case of closure for a family whose loved one went missing in the Tahoe waters.

"To be able to call the parents and tell them we brought their son home is what it's all about," Cormican said.

Ryan Normoyle's mother spoke with CBS13 and says she would want her child to be remembered as a great son and brother who had tons of friends and loved with his whole heart.

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