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Lake Michigan Search Continues for Missing EMT

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jul 01, 2013

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.– The recovery effort to find John English, the missing boater from Walker, is continuing near Ferrysburg after his disappearance Sunday.

According to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, English was on a boat with about ten friends, many of whom were medics, on Lake Michigan. They were headed back to Grand Haven after lunch when the operator of the boat asked if anyone wanted to go for a swim.

Lt. Steve Kempker says English dove off the boat.

“He did surface but it appeared he was in some distress, they did throw a life ring to him several times but he was unable to grasp that,” he said.

Lt. Kempker said that the boat started to drift away because of the wind and current.  Police are using GPS wave points they were given Sunday night, and they’re working a grid search pattern in a large area.

“We have a total of four side scan sonars running right now along with under water robotic camera. Anything they do mark or see on the side scan well send a diver down or send the robotic camera down to take a look,” Kempker said.

English has served the West Michigan community working as a medic at Life EMS Ambulance for 20 years. Monday, some of his co-workers held watch at the Coast Guard station saying they just didn’t want to leave him out there alone. They say they plan on staying there till he’s found.

He was also an instructor at Grandville High School, teaching an EMT class through Life EMS Ambulance.

Katerina Buck just completed his class in May and said she’ll never forget the impact he left on her life.

“I know that he always had the faith in me that i didn’t have in myself and I’ll never ever forget that because at least I know one person always believed in me and he told me if he was in that situation, he would trust me with his life and now I just wish Iwas out there to help him,” she said.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s office continued their search efforts till about 7 p.m. Monday.  They say they will resume the search around 5 a.m. Tuesday.