Dive team recovers body of missing boater in Lake St. Clair

Caller stated person had gone into water, had not been seen for 10 minutes

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Macomb County Sheriff's Dive Team has recovered the body of a missing 44-year-old boater in Lake St. Clair.

The Macomb County Marine Division responded at 8:05 p.m. Friday to a distress call via marine radio about a person missing from a boat just east of Lake St. Clair Metro Park.

The Sheriff's Office said the caller stated that the person had gone into the water and had not been seen for 10 minutes.

The Macomb County Marine Division, Customs Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard sent crews to the area and found the caller, who was in a 26-foot Crownline cabin cruiser boat, the Sheriff's Office said.

The caller and six additional passengers were returning from Jobbie Nooner when one passenger fell into the water. The Sheriff's Office said he was not wearing a life jacket.

A second passenger went into the water in an attempt to help the first passenger. The Sheriff's Office said the second passenger had a life jacket on, but it was not secured and came off the passenger once he was in the water.

A third passenger jumped into the water to help the first two passengers, the Sheriff's Office said.

The remaining passengers were able to help the first and third passengers back onto the boat, but lost sight of the second passenger. The Sheriff's Office said the caller used his marine radio to call for help after several minutes.

The man was identified by authorities as 44-year-old Virdest Orlando Day, of Redford Township. He was located in 7 feet of water near Huron Pointe just before 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office says the incident remains under investigation, but they do not suspect foul play.

Around the same time Friday evening, the Coast Guard rescued 17 people in two separate incidents.

Fifteen adults were on board a 39-foot vessel when it started taking on water. It took 40 minutes and three separate trips to rescue the group. Everyone was wearing life jackets.

In the other case, two people fell into the water when their boat capsized. Both were rescued.

The Coast Guard is reminding boat owners that they are required to have a wearable, proper-fitting life jacket for each person aboard their vessel, and strongly recommended all passengers wear their life jackets at all times while on a boat.

"Accidents that can cause a person to fall into the water are never planned," the Coast Guard said. "Wearing a life jacket can prevent a person from becoming completely submerged during a fall into cold water, and help prevent involuntarily inhaling water from the natural gasp reflex, which can cause drowning."