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
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.”
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.