Washington Park beach rescues scare local family


The deadly rip currents killed two people over the weekend along Michiana shores and caused officials to cancel the Great Lakes Grand Prix Superboat races.

Washington Park in Michigan City was packed with tens of thousands of fans expecting to watch the races. But, instead, those people got a show they'll likely never forget.

The waves topped out at about 8 feet on Sunday. The rip currents were so strong, beach-goers were encouraged to stay out of the water altogether. But, some daring individuals decided to take the dive-- risking their lives and scaring those people on the beach, who were forced to witness the rescue efforts. 

For Heather Roe and her son Derek Washington Park beach is a place to play in the sand and surf. But after yesterday, they're both thinking twice. 

"Do you want to go near it?" Heather asked her son, indicating to the water.

"Eh, nah," Derek responded as nonchalant as his 9-year-old self could muster. 

“It was a beautiful day and all of a sudden we saw the lifeguards go running in to the water," explained Heather. "We walked down and realized there were people missing.” 

Rescuers formed human chains to reach the distressed swimmers and lifeguards jumped to action, motioning swimmers in and prepping their gear. 

“I think it could be my kid," said Heather. "That’s the first thing that comes to my mind because you just never know.” 

But fortunately, for both Heather and Derek, Derek stayed home from the beach on Sunday. He missed the rescue efforts. But, he knows all too well what happened and at only 9-years-old, he's already seen how scary the rescues can be. 

“Last year we were down here and an 8-year-old boy had drowned," explained Heather. 

“I thought it was very dangerous,” added Derek. 

Heather said Derek had just overcome his fear of the water on Saturday afternoon when he took his first venture back in to the water since witnessing the drowning last year.  But, after Sunday's events, he's leery of the Lake Michigan waters. 

Despite his fear, he knows what to do when he's ready to jump back in. 

“Always be by a parents,“ explained Derek

Fortunately there were no fatalities at Washington Park on Sunday but Heather said the stand as a good reminder that the water can be unpredictable. 



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