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Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointes

June 24, 2009

Park man, dog rescued from Lake St. Clair

GROSSE POINTE PARK — A coordinated effort among several law enforcement agencies led to the rescue of a man and his dog in Lake St. Clair in the early morning hours of June 24.

The man — a 36-year-old Grosse Pointe Park resident — placed a distress call at 2:23 a.m. on VHF-FM marine-band channel 16 after his boat struck an unknown submerged object in St. Clair Shores and began to take on water quickly, according to a U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit spokesperson. Communication was lost before the Coast Guard was able to get additional information.

According to the Coast Guard, an HH-65C helicopter was launched from Air Station Detroit and a 33-foot special purpose craft from the St. Clair Shores station was sent out in an effort to find the man. The Macomb County Sheriff’s Marine Division also sent out two boats to assist in the effort.

At 4:33 a.m., Park Public Safety Chief David Hiller said his department received a call from a resident who heard someone on the water calling for help. Officers weren’t able to find the man initially, but Hiller said they continued to search, walking along the breakwall. They found the man and his dog around 5:07 a.m. near Alter and Windmill Pointe Park, where they helped both of them get out of the water safely. Hiller said the man was in good health and didn’t request medical attention. Because he was a Park resident, Hiller said his officers took the man and his dog home.

The Coast Guard, Tow Boat U.S. and the rescued man worked together to guarantee recovery of his 26-foot boat as well.

“It was a coordinated effort by all of the agencies,” Hiller said.

The Coast Guard is crediting the man’s decision to put a personal flotation device on himself and his dog with helping to save their lives. The Coast Guard recommends that all boaters wear a life jacket or personal flotation device at all times, carry a marine-band radio, file a “float plan” with a friend or relative so officials know where to search if something goes wrong, get a vessel safety check and take a boating safety class.

Even though the weather has gotten warmer, the Coast Guard notes that water temperatures are still low enough to lead to hypothermia in a short span of time.

For more boating safety information, visit www.uscgboating.org. To report a person in distress or request a rescue, call the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit Operations Center at (313) 568-9560.