HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Macomb Township man who was on a boat with 17 family members and friends over the weekend drowned after he jumped into the water in Anchor Bay, officials said.
Macomb County divers were called around 6 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 7) to an area of Anchor Bay that’s about one mile from Lottievue, according to authorities.
Essa Koja, 37, of Macomb Township, had been on a 37-foot Sea Ray with friends and family members, police said. There were 17 adults on the boat in total, and they had stopped to swim in the water, officials said.
Divers said the water was about 13 feet deep at that location, and the boat was drifting because it was unanchored.
Koja jumped into the water and began to yell for help because the boat was drifting away and he didn’t have a life jacket on, according to police.
Several others jumped off the boat into the water to help Koja, but they weren’t wearing life jackets and couldn’t keep him afloat, authorities said. He disappeared underwater and didn’t resurface, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.
Divers, members of the United States Coast Guard, and a Coast Guard helicopter began to search for Koja. His body was found around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday in about 10 feet of water, near where the original call had come from, officials said.
The boat and everyone else on board were brought to the Macomb County Marine Division to be interviewed by detectives.
Deputies believe alcohol and weather were factors in the incident.
The boat was registered to Koja’s brother and had the proper number of life jackets on board for all passengers, police said.