High winds, waves set stage for Silver Beach drowning Sunday
Sunday's wintry blast had tragic consequences in St. Joseph, as two men were swept off of the South Pier into Lake Michigan by high waves, with one man not making it out.
Crews called off the recovery efforts for the body of a man who was swept into Lake Michigan Sunday. I’ll have more on the weather conditions yesterday that led to the tragedy and when waves will be high again on @ABC57News 90 minutes of news pic.twitter.com/QptTEs3170— Dave Caulfield (@DaveCaulfield_) March 29, 2021
Widespread wind gusts of 35-40 mph caused wave heights to swell to 6-8 feet on the eastern shores of the lake.
Unfortunately, a new picture can be added to the danger sign on the South Pier at Silver Beach, as a man drowned over the weekend with high winds and waves making for deadly conditions.— Dave Caulfield (@DaveCaulfield_) March 29, 2021
Please, no matter if you’re a visitor or a lifer, respect the Lake. pic.twitter.com/i0vWosr0Tz
The men were swept into 40 degree waters. The shock of water that cold can cause immediate health problems, with hypothermia setting in within a half an hour in calm conditions.
After a record 56 drownings on Lake Michigan last year, 5 possible drownings have been reported so far in 2021. It took until the middle of May to hit that number last year.
The drowning victim was a longtime team member of Silver Beach Pizza. The restaurant was closed Monday.
Another sad update to the St. Joe water rescue efforts. The man swept off the pier was a long time Silver Beach Pizza team member. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/DpsLclJwmh— Brenda Koopsen (@BrendaKoopsenTV) March 29, 2021
More high winds caused the recovery mission to be called off early Monday afternoon on Silver Beach. Officials hope to resume efforts, weather permitting, Tuesday morning.