Toddler rescued by bystanders in Michigan City

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- A toddler was rescued off of Washington Park Beach Monday afternoon as winds carried him away from his family on an inflatable duck.

According to Dave Benjamin, who was at the beach, a woman was in the water waist to chest deep with her two children on the inflatable duck. One of the children fell off. While the mother turned her back to grab the child, the inflatable had begun to drift away with the second child still on it.

"I started yelling and waving my arms to get the attention of the boat that was nearby," Benjamin said in a post on Facebook.

"The child was drifting faster and farther down the beach and out to open water."

A man on an innertube attempted to paddle to the boy, but was unsuccessful in reaching him. Benjamin, a surfer and water safety advocate, told the lifeguards on duty about the situation before entering the lake himself on a standup paddleboard (SUP).

"I was paddling out to the boy on my SUP. I could see that the boy was panicking. He fell off the duck and started bobbing in the water. He did still have the arm floaties on, but those arm floaties can easily slip off."

The boater that was nearby was in the process of picking up a swimmer and the man on the innertube before quickly heading toward the boy.

On the way toward the boy, a woman jumped off the boat in an attempt to reach the inflatable, but was unable to do so. Once the boat got closer, a second woman was able to jump out of the boat and reach the boy.

Everyone involved was brought to safety, but Benjamin said it could have been much worse. 

"Without the boater, this could have gone terribly bad with 3 would-be rescuers far out in the water."

And this wasn't a result of a rip current. According to Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP), it was a longshore current created by winds blowing from land toward the water.

Waves were not a factor in the formation of the dangerous current, and swimming conditions were deemed safe. However, even on relatively calm days, currents can develop and become dangerous.

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