Chesterton Tribune

NY man's body recovered Saturday from Lake Michigan

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The body of a Bronx, N.Y., man swept out into Lake Michigan after his raft capsized on June 18 was recovered on Saturday, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said.

According to DNR, at 3 p.m. Paul Piotrowski was boating off Beverly Shores when he found the body of Leonel Dominguez, 31, floating in the lake along the eastern portion of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris told the Chesterton Tribune late on Saturday that cause of death has been listed as drowning. No autopsy will be conducted, as the incident was witnessed by others, and Dominguez’s body has been released to the family, Harris said.

At 3 p.m. on June 18, Dominguez and a companion, Evelyn Hernandez, were rowing a small inflatable raft—reportedly purchased earlier that day for $20 at the Chesterton Kmart—approximately one-half mile east of the Lake View Picnic Area in the National Lakeshore and a quarter-mile off shore. AT some point they determined that they were too far out and attempted to paddle back, but a south/southwest wind in excess of 30 miles per hour hindered their progress.

Dominguez then tried to swim to shore, pulling the raft behind him, but quickly tired, and in his efforts to re-gain the raft caused it to capsize. Hernandez was able to make it close enough to shore to be saved by a man on the beach but Dominguez disappeared.

Neither was wearing a life jacket.

A massive search—including the use of surface craft, a helicopter, and divers—was conducted until dark on Monday. Surface craft resumed the search but without success on Tuesday and Wednesday.



Posted 6/25/2012