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Grosse Pointe Shores

April 17, 2014

Divers search for body after boat capsizes

A 44-year-old Detroit man is presumed dead after his capsized boat was found floating just north of Osius Park around 4:15 p.m. April 13.

Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte said his department got a call about the capsized vessel — believed to be a 16-foot boat — from an Osius Park visitor April 13. Police confirmed the presence of the boat, which was spotted about 100 yards from the shore, and notified the United States Coast Guard station in St. Clair Shores because Grosse Pointe Shores doesn’t have a rescue boat, he said. A helicopter and boat were sent to the location, but Schulte said that while they were able to find the capsized craft, they weren’t able to locate the boater. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division sent officers, as well, in the rescue attempt.

Schulte said Shores Public Safety Officer Tony Spina — who also is a member of the South Water Dive Team from the Clay Township Fire Department — made arrangements to have six divers come to the location where the boat was found to conduct a recovery dive April 16. The divers covered several hundred square feet of water with multiple patterns and side sonar as they looked for the body of the victim, but they were unable to find the man in what Schulte acknowledged was a “tragic incident.” Their search area was consistent with water current patterns, he said. He said they used two boats and sophisticated equipment during the daylong effort.

“It was a very impressive team out there,” Schulte said.

Spina and his fellow South Dive Team members all volunteered to do the search without pay, he said.

“They wanted to bring some closure to the family. … They did this as a service to the family and the community,” Schulte said.

Powerful winds forced divers to suspend their efforts around 5 p.m. April 16, Schulte said.

He said it appeared that the boat had flipped over. The victim might have launched his vessel from a St. Clair Shores boat launch, as that’s where his vehicle was found, Schulte said. He said police believe the victim was alone at the time.