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Wave sinks boat on Lake St. Clair, passengers unharmed

A Madison Heights couple was rescued from Lake St. Clair after their 17-foot aluminum boat capsized during a fast-moving, violent thunderstorm that tore across the county June 17.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said deputies assigned to the Macomb Sheriff Marine Division were dispatched to the waters near the South River access site in Harrison Township at 5:30 p.m. in response to a 911 call regarding the boat’s two passengers treading the turbulent waves.

The 911 caller, the male of the two victims, was able to provide responding deputies with his GPS coordinates prior to his phone being rendered inoperable, according to a report.

Upon arrival, deputies learned that the woman, 53, had already been removed from the water by another boater. Deputies immediately assisted the 58-year-old man to safety.

The couple, who were unharmed, told deputies that they had launched their boat from the access site located near Lake St. Clair Metropark for an afternoon of fishing. At approximately 4:45 pm, they received a call from a family member informing them of the impending storm, so they began to head in. They told deputies that they had engine trouble and were unable to make it.

They soon took on a “large wave,” which filled the boat, and it quickly sank.

Another nearby boater heard their distress calls and helped the woman onto their boat and to safety.

Both individuals were wearing life jackets.

Wickersham said the life jackets and the fact that the couple had a cellphone with them is why they survived the harrowing incident.

“Had it not been for these simple precautions, this could have ended tragically,” he said.

Sheriff’s Lt. John Michalke said the boat was towed in and salvaged.