Coast Guard Searching For Missing Boater From Walker

Posted at 10:55 PM, Jun 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-01 07:15:21-04

FERRYSBURG, Mich-  The Coast Guard and Ottawa County dive team spent Sunday evening searching for John English of Walker.

According to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, a group of friends were on a 37-foot Sea Ray traveling from Muskegon to Grand Haven on Lake Michigan when the operator asked if anyone wanted to go for a swim, and English, 47, jumped in.

Due to the wind conditions on the lake, the boat separated from him quickly, and English began to struggle. The operator of the boat said he immediately hit the ‘man overboard’ button and tried to throw ropes and boat cushions to English.

Someone from the boat also called 9-1-1 and a call over the marine radio was sent out.

Within fifteen minutes, the Coast Guard and Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office was on scene, but Sgt. John Wolffis says there was no sign of the missing boater.

“We have divers on the scene utilizing sonar and our camera equipment to try and pin point a location,” said Wolffis.

Sgt. Wolffis says the boat was about 3 miles off shore near Ferrysburg in about 47 feet of water. The water temperature on the surface was only 64 degrees.

James wasn’t wearing a life jacket.

Authorities say they’ll start searching again Monday morning if conditions permit.