Chesterton Tribune



Porter PD officers and State Park lifeguards save 4 from drowning

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Two Porter Police officers and three Indiana Dunes State Park lifeguards collaborated to rescue four teens on Saturday from the choppy waters off Porter Beach at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

The incident began around 3:40 p.m., Porter Fire Chief Lewis Craig told the Chesterton Tribune today, after the four teens--at least one of whom was a Porter County resident, from Hebron--had swum out to the buoys, some 40 yards off shore, and were having trouble getting back in.

At some point a beachgoer, seeing the four in difficulty, alerted Porter Police Officer Scott Cornelison, who was off-duty at the time and operating his portable surf shop, Sandy Peaks, Assistant Police Chief Todd Allen said. Cornelison, along with PPD Officer Marty Gonzalez, on duty and in uniform, grabbed life preservers from the Sandy Peaks stock and hit the water.

Not far behind was the contingent of lifeguards at Dunes State Park, who--having heard scanner traffic about a drowning in progress--ran west along the strip of beach separating their bailiwick from Porter Beach, Assistant Property Manager Mickey Rea said. Three of those lifeguards made it into the water: Sean Partart, Jon Arlow, and Evan Mazurkiewicz.

Together the police officers and lifeguards succeeded in pulling the four teens to shore. Three of the teens were transported to hospital after showing signs of hypothermia, Craig said. The fourth refused treatment.

The Dunes State Park beach was closed to swimming all day on Saturday, Rea noted, with two- to four-foot waves being churned by what he called a “pretty strong north wind.”

Partart, Arlow, and Mazurkiewicz, Rea added, are prototype lifeguards: college students working their summer job. “They’re great,” he said. “They really did a good job. And those four kids in the water got lucky.”

Although it sometimes happens that folks, disappointed to find Dunes State Park beach closed to swimming, will walk west to the unguarded Porter Beach and take their chances there, on this occasion the four teens’ original destination was Porter Beach, Rea said.

Also responding to the scene on Saturday were National Park Service rangers, DNR Conservation Officers, and Porter Regional Hospital EMS.



Posted 6/29/2015




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