Twenty years after a Queens man disappeared off the coast of Lake George, divers receive assistance from a somewhat unusual vessel. As YNN's Matt Hunter reports, the scene looks like it's straight out of a classic 1960s song.
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. – As a freshman in college, Mark Trezza picked up a book about submarines and immediately began a lifelong fascination.
"I thought it was the neatest thing in the world,” said Trezza, a Red Hook native who now lives in Kingston. "I was already a scuba diver, I learned in high school."
Of course, like many childhood dreams, life got in the way and Trezza was mostly bound by land for the next 35 years. That was until two-and-a-half years ago when a friend called and said he had a 26-year-old Kittredge K350 sub he was looking to sell.
"It was a basket case. It was in rough condition," Trezza said Friday.
Along with his cousin, David, Trezza bought the bright yellow vessel and began a more than two year process to make it sea ready.
"I spent many, many hours inside that submarine just doing the plumbing and the electrical," said David Trezza, who’s a mechanical engineer by trade.
"These little subs have been known to go to 800 feet with no problems whatsoever," Mark Trezza said.
Named "Seahorse," the Trezzas planned to use it for leisure, until Ray Siler called looking for help at finding the remains of 23-year-old Edison Arias, a Queens man who disappeared swimming off the coast of Lake George 20 years ago.
"People deserve to be looked for and we now have technology we didn't have 20 years ago," said Siler, who founded the American Response for the Missing (ARM) and assisted in the initial search for Arias in 1993.
"Basically, I think we had given up,” said Warren County Sheriff Bud York, who worked for the State Police when Arias disappeared. “Nobody's really done anything on this case since 1999."
This week, the Trezzas brought "Seahorse" to Lake George to aid in the search for Arias. Divers are also benefitting from a $60,000 piece of sonar equipment that creates digital images of the bottom of the lake. Officers from the Salem, Massachusetts Police Department lent the equipment for the search and are operating it for local divers.
"It's like watching television under water. It's quite amazing," Siler said.
"The theory is if he's still in there, he'd have to be in really deep water for him not to come up," York said.
With depths approaching 200 feet, these portions of the lake were previously unreachable.
Never expecting to be part of such a serious mission, the Trezzas are now hoping their search brings closure to the Arias family.
"He's been missing a long time and hopefully they can lay it to rest," David Trezza said.
"Helping out trying to do closure for this family on this case, it's icing on the cake," Mark Trezza said.