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Coroner: Body recovered from Lake Mead is Creech airman

Apr. 18, 2013 - 06:41PM   |  
Antonio Clayton Tucker
Antonio Clayton Tucker (Creech Air Force Base via AP)
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BOULDER CITY, Nev. — A body pulled from the depths of Lake Mead belongs to an airman who presumably drowned last June, officials said Thursday.

The Clark County coroner confirmed the body discovered Wednesday belonged to Antonio Clayton Tucker, a staff sergeant from Philadelphia who was stationed at Creech Air Force Base, about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“While we are saddened by this tragic event, we take comfort in the fact that his friends, family and our Creech family are able to gain closure and can now pay Antonio his proper respects,” Col. James Hecker, commander of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said in a statement after receiving word the body had been identified.

Tucker, 28, was in a rented boat with a woman and a toddler June 23 when he dove into the water and disappeared, according to park officials. The woman called in rescuers to look for Tucker, who officials said wasn’t wearing a life vest.

The search was unsuccessful.

Search and recovery organization Earth Resource Group later obtained a permit to look for Tucker, who was last seen in the Boulder Basin area. The group’s search began Monday within a square mile of where Tucker was last seen.

Searchers using side-scan sonar detected what appeared to be a body about 280 feet underwater Tuesday. They used a remotely controlled underwater vehicle equipped with a camera to get a closer look.

The crew and police divers returned Wednesday, after bad weather subsided, and brought the body to the surface.

Tucker was a drone crew chief at Creech. Base officials planned a memorial for him a few days after his disappearance.

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