Indiana man missing after fall into Lake Michigan from ice
Portage, Ind. — An Indianapolis man is missing and presumed dead after he fell into Lake Michigan when he and a group of friends ventured onto an ice shelf at Indiana Dunes National Park, authorities said.
Firefighters, dive teams and other rescuers, including a Lake County Sheriff’s Department helicopter equipped with a spotlight, worked Monday night to try to save the man until conditions became too treacherous in the near-freezing lake along northwest Indiana's shoreline.
The search was suspended at 7:30 p.m. CST, but was planned to resume Tuesday, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.
It’s unlikely the man could have survived in the near-freezing water, and hypothermia would have set in within minutes, said Indiana Department of Natural Resources Public Information Officer Nicole Baumann.
She said five friends, all believed to be in their 20s, went onto an shelf ice just off the shoreline at the park's West Beach at about 5:30 p.m. Monday and ventured about 10 feet off the beach before the Indianapolis man fell into the water.
“A little piece of the shelf ice broke off and he tripped and fell into the lake," Baumann said.
The four other people who walked onto the shelf ice tried to rescue their friend, but he was pulled into the lake, which was filled with strong waves and large chunks of ice, she said.
Baumann said ice shelf formations along the lake are melting and treacherous and should be avoided.