The Great Sacandaga Lake refused to give up two missing fishermen through the second day of a police search effort.
Mark and Brent Richards, a father and son from Broadalbin, went missing Saturday, apparently after launching their 8- or 10-foot, flat-bottom boat in the Sacandaga.
Three state police and Department of Environmental Conservation boats plied the waters of the lake’s southern end with side-scan sonar devices Monday. Tuesday, the effort was bolstered by scuba divers and air assistance with little success.
“There are remnants of foundations and walls from before the Sacandaga reservoir was flooded way back in the day,” said state police Lt. Robert Poisson. “The divers found some of those, but no boat and no victims.”
Spotters in a state police helicopter equipped with marine floats helped cover the lake’s 40-square-mile surface but saw nothing.
Even the boat, which should show up clearly on a sonar display, is still missing.
Mark, 51 and Brent, 24 launched their boat near the state-run Broadalbin lake access at 6:30 Saturday morning, as was their tradition.
“They’ve been going fishing every weekend together since it was warm enough,” said family friend Ruth Shanahan. “Those two did a lot together.”
Darla Richards, wife and mother of Mark and Brent respectively, worked with Shanahan at Xcel Energy and has stayed in touch since her loved ones went missing.
According to past Sheriff’s Department statements, Darla called in the missing persons report Saturday night. Three full days and many man-hours of searching later, Shanahan said Darla is still trying to stay hopeful.
“The longer things go, the worse the conclusions that come to mind,” she said.
From a law enforcement perspective, the search is more a recovery than a rescue mission.
“It’s sad,” Poisson said, “but all we can do is find them. We need to so the families can get some closure.”
He said most likely the boat simply capsized and went down, though no one knows exactly where on the lake it happened.
Calls made to the victims’ cellphones did not go through, according to Shanahan.
“[The police] told us the phones were at the bottom of the lake,” she said.
Officials from the Fulton County Sheriffs Department could not be reached for comment Tuesday. As a member of the assisting rather than the lead agency, Poisson could not comment on how long the search could go on.