Fishermen’s bodies found in Sacandaga

BROADALBIN – The bodies of a father and son who were missing for 10 days have been recovered from the Great Sacandaga Lake.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday identified the bodies as those of Mark Richards, 51, and Brent Richards, 24, both of Broadalbin.

One of the bodies was found near the North Broadalbin Beach Club off Route 110 and the other was found about a half-mile away near the Broadalbin Boat Launch, authorities said.

The two men went fishing May 18 and failed to return. Authorities suspect no foul play in the deaths, said Sheriff Thomas Lorey, who added an autopsy would be done on the bodies to determine the cause of death.

Lorey said he believes the boat was too small for the two men and their equipment, resulting in the boat tipping over.

“We’ve positively identified the bodies and notified the family members,” Lorey said. “We’ve put this case to rest.”

A kayaker, Stephen Busch, said he came across one of the bodies about 11 a.m. Tuesday in shallow water in North Broadalbin near the North Broadalbin Beach Club and called authorities.

Busch said officials told him the other body was found earlier in the day near the boat launch.

Authorities had been looking for the bodies since May 19 after family members reported the two missing.

The two had parked their vehicle on MacVean Road and launched their 8- to 10-foot aluminum jon boat near the Broadalbin Boat Launch. The pair’s vehicle was found on the road and items that would have been in their boat were found floating near shore.

Lorey said although the boat has yet to be recovered, the department will not be looking for the vessel.

Lorey said authorities are unsure where the boat might have sunk.

He said neither victim was wearing a life jacket and no flotation devices were found along the shore. Although both were known to be experienced fishermen and swimmers, Lorey said the temperature of the water probably exhausted their efforts to swim to shore.

Lorey could not say why the hours authorities spent searching the lake with sonar and dive teams turned up nothing.

He explained why he previously suggested the two men could have left town.

“We were getting some false tips from the community that they were hearing from these folks through Facebook,” Lorey said. “As you know, the way Facebook works is anybody can contend to be anybody.”

Officials loaded the body found in North Broadalbin into an ambulance around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Busch said he found the body lying face-down in the water while he and his mother were kayaking. He said the man was wearing a black hoodie and had no shoes on him.

“I saw the feet under water,” he said.

“I turned to my mother and said, ‘There’s a body here,'” Busch said.

He said his mother then called 911 and they waited for authorities to arrive at the scene.

Busch, 35, said he is from western New York but his family has a cabin on the lake. He said he and his mother were kayaking to look for good fishing holes.

The sheriff would not say who found the other body near the boat launch. He also would not say which body was found in each location.

Levi Pascher can be reached by email at