First responders rescue Lapeer Co. man from Lake Michigan.

November 30, 2020

Deputy Mark Willis – MCP file photo

First responders rescue Lapeer County man from Lake Michigan.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A 21-year-old Matamora (Lapeer County) man was rescued from Lake Michigan Saturday afternoon by local first responders. According to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, Mason-Oceana 911 received a call at 3:10 p.m. on Nov. 28 reporting a person was in the water off the north breakwater. The caller reported two people had been out on the breakwater when one appeared to have been swept off into Lake Michigan, Cole said. 

Emergency personnel responded including Mason County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, Ludington Police Department, Ludington Fire Department, Life EMS, U.S. Coast Guard, Mason County Dive Team, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources law enforcement (conservation officers). 

Marine Patrol Dep. Mark Willis and DNR officers Brian Brosky and Kyle Publiski entered the water to attempt to rescue the victim, Cole said. The three carried a “throw rope” and entered the water near the victim by the lighthouse. 

The three were able to get the rope to the victim and pull him towards the breakwater.  “Once within reach, Willis went out on to the rocks and was able to grab the male subject by the arm while DNR Officer Brosky held on to Willis by his shirt,” Cole said.

The investigation revealed both men had slipped into the water due to high waves and algae build up on the break wall, making it slippery, Cole said.  

A 20 year-old man from Otter Lake (Genesee County) was able to get himself back on to the break wall and received minor injuries.  Life EMS transported the second person, a 21 year-old male from Metamora to Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital for suspected hypothermia.

“MCSO Marine Patrol often trains with DNR law enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard to provide the highest quality of service to our citizens,” Cole said. “It is no secret that well-trained and equipped officers are given a clear advantage in high stress situations like this.  With the tragic events on our waterways in 2019, still fresh in our memories, the MCSO command staff worked with the Mason County Board of Commissioners to equip each sheriff’s deputy with a ‘throw rope’ and high quality life vests for these very situations. There is no doubt whatsoever, that training and equipment prevented a Thanksgiving weekend disaster here in Mason County.”

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