On Great Salt Lake, workers seek closure for missing boy's family

May 9 2012 - 5:09am

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(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings (at right) and Harbor Master Dave Shearer search an area called Eardley Spit for the body of 4-year old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings looks for the body of 4-year-old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday. The Layton boy fell into the Weber River on April 28 and searchers think it is possible that he is in the lake.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings (at right) and Harbor Master Dave Shearer search an area called Eardley Spit for the body of 4-year old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings (at right) and Harbor Master Dave Shearer search an area called Eardley Spit for the body of 4-year old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings looks for the body of 4-year-old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday. The Layton boy fell into the Weber River on April 28 and searchers think it is possible that he is in the lake.
(KERA WILLIAMS/ Standard-Examiner) Great Salt Lake Assistant Park Manager Kent Cummings (at right) and Harbor Master Dave Shearer search an area called Eardley Spit for the body of 4-year old Corbin Anderson on the Great Salt Lake on Tuesday.

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MAGNA -- Under a cloudless sky, Rescue 1 ambled from the Great Salt Lake Marina and roared toward Eardley Spit, a narrow speck of barren land jutting out from Stansbury Island.

The smooth blueish-green water slapped against the aluminum hull of the 35-foot rescue boat as Dave Shearer, the marina's harbor master, opened the throttle, pushing the craft to 45 mph.

During the 15-minute journey to the spit, Shearer stared straight ahead as a cool breeze whistled through the open windows of the boat's cabin.

Next to him, his 6-year-old Australian shepherd, Taz, perched in a well-worn passenger seat and panted heavily, apparently excited by the voyage.

But this was no pleasure cruise.

Shearer and his shipmate Kent Cummings, assistant manager of the Great Salt Lake Marina State Park, hoped to unravel a mystery as murky as the water they glided through.

Where is 4-year-old Corbin Anderson, the Layton boy who fell into the Weber River during a family photo session and is presumed drowned?

The search Tuesday on the Great Salt Lake failed to provide any answers, as Corbin's body was not located.

"We want to find someone who is missing so that the family can have closure," Cummings said. "It's disappointing when you don't."

There has been no trace of Corbin in the Weber River, either, despite intense efforts by searchers along the banks and in the water.

To assist divers, heavy equipment was used Saturday to alter the channel of the river at the Kayak Park near 24th Street and Exchange Road in Ogden, where Corbin fell in April 28.

Bank patrols for Corbin's body will continue throughout the week, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther.

"We sure want to find him," he said. "Wherever he is, he's well-hidden."

Though admittedly a longshot, Shearer and Cummings spent two hours Tuesday investigating whether the boy's body could have been pushed from the Ogden Kayak Park by the current into the Great Salt Lake.

The pair looked into the possibility that Corbin's body entered the Great Salt Lake and was first caught in a flow from the Bear River and then, as a result of high winds and waves over the last four days, carried northwest into a current from the Jordan River and deposited near the shore of Eardley Spit. The spit is about 38 miles from the Weber River.

Shearer pulled Rescue 1 less than a mile offshore of Eardley Spit and, along with Cummings, used binoculars to scan the beach for any signs of the boy's body.

The boat risked running aground if it got any closer to the shore, Shearer said.

The only items visible from the boat were clusters of brown brine shrimp eggs floating in the water, as well as a beach ball and trash on the shore.

The Great Salt Lake can be tranquil or treacherous, as it was Monday when a search for Corbin was aborted because high winds created 5-foot waves.

"It's a powerful lake," Shearer said, adding that at 1,700 square miles, the Great Salt Lake is larger than Rhode Island. "It gets your attention."

Personnel from the Utah Division of State Parks also boarded an airboat Tuesday from Antelope Island State Park Marina and searched for Corbin along Fremont Island and the Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area.

In addition, members of the U.S. Air Force used a hovercraft Tuesday to look for the boy's body in Carrington Bay, which borders the Utah Test and Training Range.

On Sunday, state parks personnel spent eight hours searching along a railroad causeway from 12th Street in Ogden about 25 miles across the Great Salt Lake.

Because none of the searches have been successful, no further search efforts are planned in the Great Salt Lake, Shearer said.

"We've done what we can to search the most obvious areas, and he's not in the obvious areas," he said. "Hopefully, he is in the river and they find him very quickly."

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