Search Continues For Teenage Boy Missing In Lake Michigan
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UPDATED 07/09/12 – 5:15 p.m.
PORTAGE, Ind. (CBS) — Divers, helicopters and rescue teams combed the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for most of Monday, in search of an Indiana teenager who vanished while swimming in Lake Michigan.
The U.S. Coast Guard and rescue crews have been searching on water, and by air, since the boy vanished Sunday afternoon. The search resumed after dawn Monday.
Corey McFry, 15, was swimming with friends near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore when witnesses saw him struggling in the water, about 200 yards from shore.
CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports crews from the U.S. Coast Guard and several local law enforcement agencies have been conducting the search for the missing boy.
Around 4:45 p.m. Monday, divers were pulled from the recovery efforts, having exhausted all diving options. Boats will now be used to search the surface for the missing teen. Officials planned to continue their efforts until about 8 p.m. on Monday, unless he is found before then.
If needed, the search would resume on Tuesday, although conservation officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have said Corey is presumed to have drowned, and boats will only be searching the surface of the lake.
The beach has been closed during the search, but conservation officers hope to reopen the beach to the public on Tuesday.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
Corey had been swimming with friends about 200 yards off Portage Lakefront Park – which is not manned by lifeguards – when he was caught in a rip current. He began to call for help as 5-foot waves engulfed him.
The National Weather Service had issued a rip current advisory at the time Corey disappeared.
Indiana Conservation Officer Gene Davis said, “Whether he stepped off or was knocked off balance by a wave, but anyway, he stepped off of that sandbar, went in the water over his head, went under, and never did reappear.”
Two of the Corey’s friends continued to look for him, while a third returned to shore to call for help just before 6 p.m. Sunday.
The initial search was called off around 8:30 p.m. Sunday, then resumed just after dawn on Monday, with rescue divers, helicopters, and boats equipped with sonar.
Family friend Mark McGregor — who described himself as Corey’s mother’s fiancé — said, “We’re just trying to get closure, and be able to put him to rest.”
McGregor described Corey as “unique,” saying he had a love for skateboarding and video games.
“He could swim, but I mean with the way the conditions were yesterday, I don’t think the best swimmer could have dealt with that,” said McGregor.
Corey was supposed to attend Portage High School this fall.
Officials said swimmers who get caught in a rip current, should float on their backs to calm down, avoid trying to fight the current, and swim parallel to shore, only heading back to the beach once they are safely out of the current.