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9th District Great Lakes Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard

News Release

June 19, 2012


Ninth Coast Guard District

Contact: Ninth Coast Guard District External Affairs Office

Email: D9PublicAffairs@gmail.com

Office: (216) 902-6020

Mobile: (216) 310-2608

Coast Guard ends search for man missing from beach in Michigan City, Ind.

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard crews ended their active search Tuesday morning for a man who went missing when he fell from a rubber raft near Beverly Shores, Ind., Monday evening.

The man's name is not being released.

The radio watchstander at Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., was contacted Monday at 3:02 p.m. by someone reporting two people, a man and a woman, on a rubber raft who were struggling to return to shore.  A rescue boatcrew aboard a Station Michigan City 25-foot Response Boat-Small arrived on scene at 3:18 p.m. and located the raft and one paddle.

The woman, who made it to shore, reported she was on the raft when it capsized.  Along with one witness onshore, she saw the man go under the water and not resurface.  Neither person was reportedly wearing a life jacket.

An aircrew aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon, Mich., arrived on scene at 4:58 p.m. and commenced searching the area.

The Coast Guard boatcrew, along with a boatcrew from the Portage, Ind., Fire Department, searched through the night.  The Coast Guard ended the active search Tuesday at 9:03 a.m.

The water temperature on scene is currently 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Boaters and swimmers, who may be surprised to learn that 'cold water' is technically defined as any water colder than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, need to be cautious of the risks of drowning and hypothermia," said Lt. Casey Steuer, public affairs officer at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.

In fact, someone in cold water may have only minutes of functional movement before he loses the effective use of fingers, arms and legs.  At this point, a victim who is not wearing a life jacket may drown because he can no longer tread water and remain afloat.

Even with a Coast Guard-approved floatation device, hypothermia is a threat to survival once someone is exposed to cold water.  The body may lose heat 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air.

For more information, contact Lt. Casey Steuer at 414-747-7151.

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