(SAULT STE MARIE, MI) – A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew located the body of a 43-year-old man near his overturned canoe Saturday night in Omena Bay, Mich., shortly after the man’s sister reported him missing.
The man’s identity is not being released.
The man’s sister said she grew concerned when her brother didn’t return from his evening canoe trip at 7 p.m., his normal time, and she contacted Leelanau County dispatch after her brother’s dog returned to his residence soaking wet.
Leelanau County dispatch notified Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., of the overdue man about 9:30 p.m., prompting the sector to launch an aircrew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, MI, and a 25-foot Response Boat–Small from Station Charlevoix, MI.
Within minutes of getting airborne, the helicopter crew located an overturned canoe and the man, who appeared to be unresponsive and wearing a life jacket, approximately 100 feet away. Northport firemen and emergency medical technicians arrived on scene minutes later to recover the man, confirming he was unresponsive.
Northport EMTs transferred the man to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
“Although air temperatures are rising, it is important to consider the cold water temperature and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return prior to venturing out onto the water alone,” said Keith West, command duty officer at Sector Sault Ste Marie.
Involved in the response were personnel from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Station Charlevoix, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office, Northport Fire Department and local emergency medical services.