Missing fisherman from Willard Bay ID’d; search continues

Posted at 9:38 PM, Mar 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-24 09:35:05-04

WILLARD BAY STATE PARK -- Officials have identified a fisherman who went missing on Willard Bay Sunday night.

Search crews were still looking for Matthew Rasmussen, 45, of Morgan County, Monday until they called off the search at dark.

The search will resume Tuesday morning.

Rasmussen launched his boat at Willard Bay State Park Marina on Sunday at about 8 a.m. He was reported missing at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s upsetting. We’d like to find them as soon as possible, but we know from experience that searches can go on for multiple days and not find anything until the third or fourth day,” said Sgt. Tony Santora with the Utah State Parks.

According to authorities, Rasmussen is an avid fisherman, a regular at Willard Bay and often fished there with his family. Despite his knowledge of the water, Santora said the water temperatures can still be deadly this time of year.

“The problem with the water temperatures right now is that you can be a fabulous swimmer and once you get into these waters it can really take all the fight out of your muscles,” Santora said.

The search efforts Monday led to some progress.

“We do believe that we know he’s not in one certain area so we can rule that area out and now we can start searching in other places,” Santora said.

Searchers found the man’s 18-foot fishing boat Sunday night around 10p.m. It was upright near the shore. Officials say nothing they found in and around the boat raised concerns or suspicions.

With the boat found and reports of calm, beautiful weather on the lake Sunday, the disappearance of this fisherman remains a mystery.

“Seems like everybody has a different theory on what might have happened so really until we find him we won’t know much more,” Santora said.

FOX 13 spoke with friends of the fisherman on scene. They did not want to go on camera, but said Rasmussen was an experienced fisherman and outdoorsman with a great job and family and no signs of depression or suicidal thoughts.

They said there’s nothing to lead them to think their friend would want to disappear like this.

Personnel from Box Elder and Weber County Search and Rescues, Utah State Park Rangers, Department of Public Safety dive team and Life Flight have been involved in the search. Several volunteer organizations have also assisted in the search.

Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office and Division of Parks and Recreation ask that those wanting to help in the search abstain.

If additional volunteers are needed the sheriff’s office will make an official statement for help.