Man drowns in Lake St. Clair

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 18, 2014

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — A St. Clair Shores man drowned in Lake St. Clair on Aug. 17, bringing the the total deaths in local park waterways this summer to three, park officials said.

George Phifer, chief of police and deputy director for the Huron-Clinton Metroparks Authority, said the man, said to be in his early 20s, was swimming with friends off the shores of Lake St. Clair Metropark in Harrison Township at around 7:26 p.m.

“His friends got out of the water and he stayed in,” said Phifer, adding that the victim remained inside the roped off section meant for swimming. “His friends, watching from the shore, saw his arms flailing and thought he was joking. Then they realized he wasn’t and went back into the water to help him.”

Phifer said they searched for up to 10 minutes until finally locating their friends body at the bottom of a semi-shallow area of water.

He said park staff and patrons of the park administered CPR in order to revive the victim, and an ambulance arrived, allowing emergency responders from the Harrison Township Fire Department to aid in the rescue attempts.

The victim was quickly transported to McLaren-Macomb Hospital in Mount Clemens and was pronounced dead approximately an hour after being taken from the water.

Phifer said it remains unknown what contributed to the drowning, but it doesn’t appear alcohol was a factor.

This latest drowning is the third at Huron-Clinton Metroparks this summer. Two men drowned in two separate incidents at Stoney Creek Metropark earlier in the season.

There have been five total local drownings, including the three at the metroparks. Shelby Township resident Julian Joseph Martinez, 33, drowned in Lake St. Clair off of a Harrison Township marina while out boating with friends on July 7, and a 21-year-old Madison Heights woman drowned in the Clinton River in Shelby Township on July 14.