Chesterton Tribune



Search for Chicago man in Lake Michigan off Mt Baldy unsuccessful

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A Chicago man remained missing this morning in the waters of Lake Michigan, after he disappeared on Saturday while trying to rescue two other swimmers who had floated away from their boat off shore of Mt. Baldy, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said.

The DNR identified the missing man as Ron Wood Jr., 29.

According to the DNR, around 6 p.m. Wood and several others were drifting in a 33-foot SeaRay motorboat, north of Mt. Baldy, when two of their party decided to go swimming but began floating away from the boat.

Wood and several others went into the water themselves to rescue the two, at which point the boat itself started drifting, until it was several hundred feet away from the rescuers, the DNR said. The sole passenger still on the boat was unable to start its engines and called 911.

Meanwhile, a nearby boat observed those in distress and succeeded in rescuing two swimmers “who were struggling to stay afloat” after some 35 minutes in the water, the DNR said. Then the U.S. Coast Guard arrived at the scene and rescued two more swimmers.

Wood was discovered to be missing, however, and a search was begun for him. Responding to the scene at 8:15 p.m. were the dive/rescue teams of the Porter, Chesterton, and Portage fire departments. That effort was suspended at 10:11 p.m. due to darkness, PFD Chief Lewis Craig told the Chesterton Tribune today.

The PFD and CFD teams were back on the water on Sunday by 8:30 a.m. and continued their efforts until noon, while the Indiana conservation officers pursued a below-surface sonar operation. That operation was also suspended on Sunday, with plans to resume again today, the DNR said.

In Ogden Dunes on Sunday

The PFD and CFD dive teams were again mustered on Sunday evening, at 6:17 p.m., after a person was reported in the waters off the Ogden Dunes beach.

Both teams were disregarded, only 20 minutes later, after an ODFD firefighter in a kayak determined that what had been sighted wasn’t a person at all but two balloons and some debris, Craig said.



Posted 6/2/2014