'Good Samaritans' save woman who fell into Lake Michigan

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Officials are crediting bystanders with helping save a 78-year-old woman who fell into Lake Michigan near Saugatuck on Tuesday.

The Illinois resident was on a paddle board or kayak at Oval Beach around 4:40 p.m. "when she suffered a medical emergency and fell into the water," Allegan County Sheriff's officials said in a statement.

Sheriff's deputies were alerted about a possible drowning. By the time emergency personnel were contacted, good Samaritans on the beach had already pulled the woman from the water and started administering CPR, according to the release.

Witnesses reported the woman had been under water for approximately 1-5 minutes before she was rescued and brought to shore, county officials said.

EMS arrived on scene and found a pulse before transporting her to a hospital. 

"The Allegan County Sheriff Office would like to thank the Saugatuck Fire Department, Douglas City Police Department, Holland AMR and the citizens on the beach for their assistance on this emergency," representatives said Tuesday night.

Last week, searchers located the body of a man who disappeared in Lake Michigan while trying to save a child, the fourth drowning from a day earlier in west Michigan.

Anthony Diehl, 33, from Beaver Creek, Ohio, was recovered by divers from the Allegan County Sheriff's Department, according to a post by South Haven Area Emergency Services. He may have been trying to help a 7-year-old boy who was struggling Wednesday in the water in South Haven. The 7-year-old also drowned.

The rescue Tuesday came as the National Weather Service issued a beach hazards alert for Ottawa, Allegan and Van Buren counties starting at 2 a.m. Wednesday.

Winds near 20-30 mph are expected, the weather service said.

"High wave action, strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions expected," the notice said. "Piers may be heavily swamped by waves. ... Strong currents can pull swimmers into deeper water  and high waves can sweep people off piers."