SOUTH LAKE TAHOE --
GoPro video may be the only clue helping the public identify a man suspected of falling off a paddle board and possibly drowning in South Lake Tahoe on Wednesday.
"We don't know if he's dead at the bottom of the lake or whether he just walked out of the lake and is continuing his vacation," Detective Jeff Robertson with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department said.
Robertson said the unidentified man rented the paddle board in town Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. By 5 p.m., a fishing charter found the paddle board floating just off Timber Cove Marina and called the Coast Guard. Subsequent searches have proven unsuccessful.
"We are hoping and praying he comes back safely," said Robin Bender at South Lake Tahoe Standup Paddle.
Bender said the store has a mandatory policy of having customers complete a liability waiver, including first and last names, date of birth and email address. She says the employee that rented the board to this man did take his information.
"There was a language barrier," Bender said.
Police say the name listed in their store's online system did not correctly identify him.
"We have a conglomeration of letters that form the last name that we haven't been able to do anything with." Detective Robertson said.
South Lake Tahoe police have contacted the FBI and several embassies to try to identify the man. They have also visited local casinos and hotels with his photo. They believe he was speaking Polish in video recovered from the GoPro.
"Based on the pictures on the GoPro, we've been able to determine a few things. He's been skiing in Italy, and he's been to Dubai, all this year, and then came to South Lake Tahoe. So we believe he is an international traveler," Robertson said.
The missing paddle boarder is believed to be between 20 and 40 years old with brown hair, hazel eyes, and a rose tattooed on his inner bicep. If you recognize him, contact South Lake Tahoe police.