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Recovery operation: Crews search for body near Michigan City

BEVERLY SHORES, Ind.  - Authorities are still looking for the body of a man who drown in Lake Michigan Monday night near Michigan City.

Indiana Conservation Officers said 31-year-old Leonel Dominguez of New York City has been missing since capsizing his inflatable boat off Beverly Shores Beach just before 4 p.m. Monday.

“A lot of people are smart you know they stay close,” said Scot Tomasek a witness to the drowning.

Tuesday, Tomasek recalled conditions being windy and wavy and saw the two boaters go too far out. “Way too far,” he said. “Definitely should not have been out that far.”

“Looks are deceiving,” said Terri Arlandson with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

According to the DNR, Dominguez and a woman, Evelyn Hernandez, were not wearing life jackets and a couple hundred feet from shore when 30 mph winds and 3-foot waves capsized the raft.

“The raft got away from them and they were too exhausted to get back in,” said Arlandson.

Both Dominguez and Hernandez were good swimmers, according to Arlandson, but 90 degree temperatures and temperamental water conditions kept the two from being able to swim back.

Hernandez, the woman, was rescued by a passerby able to swim to her in time but Dominguez was not recovered.

“(The conditions) can pull you into shore and it can pull you out from shore,” said Arlandson. “It just depends on Lake Michigan.”

“They should have never gone out,” said Tomasek. “A bunch of people told them not to go out.”

The raft was located by the US Coast Guard in Michigan City.

The DNR said the recovery search for Dominguez’s body will continue 6 a.m. Wednesday with a 4-mile search area between Beverly Shores and Michigan City.

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