Chesterton Tribune



Child drowns in Lake Michigan at Marquette Park

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A 12-year-old Glenwood, Ill., boy drowned in Lake Michigan off the Marquette Park beach in Gary on Thursday, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is reporting.

The victim has not been identified.

According to DNR, at 5:15 p.m. emergency personnel, including both the Porter and Chesterton fire department dive teams, responded to Marquette Park when witnesses reported seeing a family of at least five struggling in the water, apparently after stepping off a sandbar into “unexpectedly” deeper water. “While the family struggled in the water, one of the family members noticed that the child was not on the surface of the water,” DNR said. “Lifeguards were on duty and immediately initiated a search for the boy.”

A little over an hour later, at 6:20 p.m., a Portage firefighter aboard a jet ski spotted the boy below the surface. A Porter firefighter accompanying the jet ski by boat recovered the boy and brought him to shore, where he was determined to be deceased, DNR said.

“Indiana Conservation Officers are conducting the ongoing investigation with the Gary Police Department and Lake County Coroner’s Office,” DNR said.

Also responding to the scene were the Gary PD and FD, the Lake County Sheriff’s Police aviation unit, U.S. Coast Guard units, Indiana Dunes National Park rangers, and the Hobart, Crown Point, Merrillville, and Lakes of Four Seasons FDs.

CFD divers did make entry into the water and commenced a search pattern using a tow bar pulled by a Portage FD boat, but were in the water only a short time before the boy was recovered.

PFD Chief Jay Craig told the Chesterton Tribune that the boy and his family were only in waist-deep water at the time of the incident, “well within the swim buoys and only around 40 feet from shore.” He added that the sandbars and dropoffs change every season and are especially treacherous for swimmers unfamiliar with Lake Michigan.


Posted 7/10/2020





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