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

News Release

July 09, 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 continues search for missing teen in Lake Michigan

CLEVELAND — Coast Guard rescue boatcrews and aircrews continue to search for a missing teenager, last seen at Lakefront Beach in Portage, Ind., Sunday night.

Coast Guard rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., Air Facility Waukegan, Ill., and Air Station Detroit, assisting an incident command leading the search and rescue efforts, searched throughout Sunday night and are continuing the search Monday morning for the missing teenager.

A radio watchstander at Station Michigan City received notification at 6 p.m. CST, from Portage County 911 dispatch of a 16-year-old boy, who was last seen caught in a rip current and struggling to return to shore at Lakefront Beach.

Station Michigan City launched a rescue boat crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat. The Coast Guard also launched rescue aircrews aboard MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopters from Air Station Detroit and Air Facility Waukegan.

Also participating in the search are rescue crews from Portage, Porter, Ogden Dunes and Burns Harbor fire departments, Portage County Marine Unit and Indiana Department of Natural Resources Marine Units. The Portage Fire Department provided divers, but they were reportedly unable to deploy due to severe rip currents and 5- to 6-foot waves.

Late Sunday night, after conducting numerous searches, the incident command post stood down local responders due to weather exceeding their operational limitations. The local responders also continued their seach efforts this morning.

The Coast Guard offers these tips that swimmers should use to help them identify, avoid and escape rip currents:

Identify — Look for changes in water color; water motion; incoming wave shape or breaking point compared to adjacent conditions; channels of churning or choppy water; lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward

Avoid — Check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions before heading out; learn to swim; learn to swim in surf; never swim alone; swim near a lifeguard; look for posted signs and warning flags indicating hazards; check with lifeguards before swimming and obey their instructions; always assume rip currents are present; if in doubt, don’t go out

Escape — Remain calm to conserve energy; don’t fight the current; swim across the current parallel to the shoreline; when out of the current, swim an angle away from the current and toward shore; if you can’t escape, try to float or tread water until the current subsides then swim to shore; if you can’t reach shore, face the shore, wave your arms and yell for help to draw attention

Assist — Get help from a lifeguard or if one isn’t available, call 911; throw the victim something that floats — a life jacket, cooler, ball; yell instructions to escape; don’t become a victim trying to help someone else

The Coast Guard is not releasing the name of the missing teenager.  There is no Coast Guard imagery associated with this case.

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