My family has spent every summer in Union Pier since the late 1950's. Our summer home, currently my mom's permanent home, is approximately 2 blocks from the beach, down Townline Road. I have learned since childhood that if one can hear the waves at the house, one does not go swimming. Over the years, I've gotten to know the all-too-familiar sound of sirens and rescue vehicles speeding down to the beach because some tourist thought he/she could outswim Mother Nature. Yesterday, we heard the sirens again, and again my heart sank. My children and I walked down Lakeshore Road and saw an array of emergency vehicles parked at the Miller Beach access. We witnessed the events as they unfolded, the father pulled to safety by rescuers, and after what seemed an eternity, the small frame of the 10-year old, pulled from the water. The whole scene was heart wrenching, but not all that unfamiliar. People innocently accept the invitation of the refreshing water and seemingly playful surf, forgetting that the forces of nature are far stronger than they appear. It is a tragic thing, that started out as a playful morning, however, there are already warning signs indicating the dangers of rip currents. People need to heed those warnings and read the signs. Flags would do little good to keep people out of the water. I understand Eileen's intentions, but seriously, people have drowned on beaches where there are lifeguards on duty. Flags don't make the water less trecherous. The lake yesterday was far too rough for anyone to take chances, especially without floatation devices. Getting wet and cooled off is one thing, taking risks in the waves without proper precautions is another. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, I'm not. I understand, I have 3 children myself, and I consider myself an experienced swimmer. In these waters, one could swim like Michael Phelps and still succomb to the waves if knocked down enough.
My children and I searched from the shoreline to see if we could spot the boy in the water. When rescuers found him, we stayed until they transported him. We prayed for a miracle, but from reading Eileens comment, I see it did not help. My heart goes out to the boy's family, I can't imagine the insurmountable grief. I do warn others, please learn from this and stay out of the water when the surf is rough. It looks playful, but it is quite deceiving. Flags can be ignored, as are the signs. Rather than take that risk, just stay away and admire the view from a distance. Mother Nature can change your life in an instant.
I am so sorry for the loss this family has endured. May God help them through this difficult time.