Home Around Town Rip Tides cause drownings, danger along shore

Rip Tides cause drownings, danger along shore


8-1 SH rescue 1 6x-crRip currents off South Haven’s South Beach have kept South Haven Area Emergency Services busy following a drowning two weeks ago and continued heat, wind and waves creating more life-threatening events over the past few weekends.

Similar conditions here caused Saugatuck’s Oval Beach to post “No Swimming” warnings and led to a drowning in Holland last weekend.

On July 13, an Ann Arbor boy, 13, drowned off South Beach while a yellow caution flag was flying. Rescuers began CPR and continued as he was taken by ambulance to Bronson South Haven Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

On July 19, two rescues occurred at South Beach within an hour.

Crowds trying to escape the day’s heat watched as SHAES Chief Ron Wise jumped into Lake Michigan to save a struggling 18-year-old male near the south pier. Wise reached the subject with a life ring SHAES maintains on the piers, then South Haven police pulled them both to safety (shown at right). The teen was exhausted, but did not require medical attention.

A half an hour later an adult woman was reported struggling in the water. A witness responded going to her car, putting on a life jacket, swimming out to the victim and getting her to shore as emergency responders arrived. The victim was taken by ambulance to Bronson-South Haven Hospital.

Responders also formed a rescue rope search line (shown above, photo also courtesy of SHAES) when, for a while, it was feared another person was in distress. No other person was found.

Last Saturday, as red warning flags again waved up and down the lakeshore, Steven Davis, 43, of Holland Township drowned in rough water near Holland.

Drownings under similar conditions have also occurred in Ludington.

Escaping high heat is one thing, SHAES officials cautioned. “Escaping” red flag warnings not to swim because of high waves and rip currents is another, they said.