Fire Dept Pulls Boy From Rough Waters In Lake Michigan
A ten-year old boy was taken to Lakeland Hospital on Monday afternoon after being pulled out of Lake Michigan in Union Pier.
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#1 Aug 17, 2010
We were there with our friends for the weekend staying in Union Pier. We had all just settled into our chairs on the beach when a woman rushed up to us asking for swimmers to help a boy and a man that were in trouble in the lake. The Lake was so rough -The Fire Department told us there were Rip Tides and a strong undertoe.I called 911 and once I reached a uniformed officer handed the phone to him. I really believe it is time for the beaches along these communities to invest in a color coded flag system to warn the public about unsafe conditions.These are not unsitely. I truly believe if this warning system was in place this tragedy could have been averted.I grew up on the east coast and every beach had this system it was not a deterrent but more a warning to heed - respect the conditions of the water. My self and a friend stayed with this child's parents who were screaming from fear for their little one. The mom's dear friend who by the way left her grieving friend to jump into the water to help save the paramedic that went in to the lake to try to find the little boy that wound up losing his life to the rough lake conditions, she helped pull him to safety.Even he had to sit at the waters edge to collect himself! This was all so very tragic, the images will never leave me. We went to the resort where the child's parents were staying to find out how the little one was doing we were told they were still at the hospital in St. Joe however later on that afternoon the police patrol on the beach informed us he had passed away. With that kind of news we packed up and left shortly afterwards. BIG thank you to Kayla from Chickaming Police for working with me to keep the parents informed as to what was going on once the recovery was in motion. Thank you Thank you Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
#2 Aug 17, 2010
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.
#3 Aug 17, 2010
I so agree with you Irene, any body of water is inviting however to press the point where I grew when the flags were up telling us the conditions were deadly, we knew not to approach the water from the time I was in grade school to even now as an adult. We also had a second system as you stated- If you can hear the sound of the the water-STAY AWAY. Beautiful to watch but not to challenge. Yes, there will still be those that want to challenge the lake but rarely does anyone win against mother nature. I think that this was an innocent day in the surf for father and son, much like the day before but overnight the conditions worsened and this had the worst possible outcome.I am so sad for this family. I can still hear their anguished cries in my mind and my heart just aches for them. May they find strength and comfort through God, family and friends.
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