Lake Michigan Death a Reminder For Water Safety

By: Sheldon Dutes Email
By: Sheldon Dutes Email

The body of 20 year old David Lambert was found Tuesday afternoon, almost 24 hours after he had jumped into the choppy waves of Lake Michigan.

Neal Vaughan was at the south pier taking pictures of the unfolding trauma for the Herald Palladium Monday afternoon. According Vaughan,” the waves were going over the pier and endangering the officers that were there."

“There were several ambulances and police cars,” Vaughan continued, “lots of people watching and wondering. His friends were crying at the end of the pier."

Not long after Lambert was reported missing, Vaughan saw 19-year-old Kevin Laporte, 19, of Fort Wayne, and Jared Freeman struggling in the rough water.

"They were swimming on the lakeside of the pier where the water was the roughest," said United States Coast Guard Christopher Gill.

Vaughan used his cell phone to call 911. "It was obvious to the four of us standing there that they needed help," Vaughan recalled.

One good Samaritan, Paul Schultz, risked his life to save Laporte.

"[He] climbed down the ladder [of the pier] and held his arm and made sure he didn't slip away," said Vaughan.

While Schultz bravely battled 8 foot waves until the coast guard could rescue Laporte, Freeman struggled to swim ashore.

According to the Coast Guard, they brought both men to shore and dressed their lacerations.

Although it is not that uncommon for thrill seekers to jump off of the piers at Silver Beach, Monday's weather conditions were a cause for concern.

"I don't think people realized it was that rough . . . and caused that many problems if you weren't experienced in swimming in rip currents and undertows," said Gill.

Regardless of self-proclaimed skill level, swimmers should always proceed with caution while in the water.

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