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Body of missing paddle boarder recovered at Rockport State Park

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Jul 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-18 23:18:03-04

ROCKPORT STATE PARK, Utah -- After searching for about 24 hours, crews have recovered the body of a missing paddle boarder at Rockport State Park Saturday.

Joshua Merkley, 21, of Layton. Image courtesy Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Joshua Merkley, 21, of Layton. Image courtesy Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Joshua Merkley, 21 of Layton, went missing Friday afternoon around 3:30 p.m. when a gust of wind came through and separated him from his paddle board. It was not clear if he was wearing a life jacket.

Crews searched Friday and until about 2 a.m. Saturday, and search efforts resumed at about 6 a.m. Saturday. Sheriff J. Martinez, Summit County Sheriff's Office, tweeted at 3:41 p.m. that, "SAR has recovered Joshua Merkley at Rockport State Park. Our hearts go out to the family."

Merkley was found about 100 feet from where he had last been seen. The water was about 80 feet deep in that area.

The search efforts consisted of dive teams and SONAR efforts, and helicopters from LifeFlight and the Department of Public Safety contributed to the search for several hours on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Rockport Reservoir had limited access for recreation as the search continued. Boat use was limited to south of the boat ramp, according to tweets from sheriff's office.

Merkley's family asked for privacy as the search continued.