Deputies confirm body recovered from Millerton Lake was missing 55-year-old Clovis diver

The sheriff's office said the man was an experienced diver who was at the lake frequently and was familiar with it.
MILLERTON LAKE, Calif. (KFSN) -- What should have been a typical day in the waters of Millerton Lake turned unexpectedly tragic for a diver on Christmas Eve.

The diver, 55-year-old Clovis resident Melvin Helm, has now been identified as the person authorities found dead in the lake on Sunday.

Helm, an experienced diver who was at the lake frequently, went on a solo dive in the Meadow Campground area on Friday afternoon.

Loved ones raised the alarm when he did not return for hours.

On Friday evening, the Madera County Sheriff's Office launched an extensive search operation in and around the lake.

Deputies searched on foot and on boats, assisted by personnel from Tulare County, Kern County and Fresno County.

Aircraft equipped with thermal technology scanned the water and land. Several divers were on standby, ready to comb the lake if the aircraft detected any signs of the diver.

After more than two days of searching, divers recovered a body from the lake on Sunday that was confirmed to be that of Helm.

NOTE: The video above is from an earlier story and will be updated.

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