Missing Elkhart Man Found Dead in Lake

The Berrien County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Coast Guard continued to search for an Elkhart man who is missing in Lake Michigan.

Twenty-year-old David Lambert jumped off of the South Pier in St. Joseph last night.

Not long after Lambert’s plunge, two men from Ft. Wayne also jumped into the rough waters.

Photographer Neal Vaughan says, "The waves were going over the pier and endangering the officers that were there. There were several ambulances and police cars … lots of people watching and wondering. His friends were crying at the end of the pier."

Neal Vaughan was taking pictures of the unfolding trauma for a local paper when he saw 19-year-old Kevin Laporte and Jared Freeman struggling in the choppy waves.

Vaughan says, "It was obvious to the four of us standing there that they needed help. It was at that point a man named Paul Schultz climbed down the ladder and held his arm and made sure he didn't slip away."

Schultz bravely battled eight foot waves until the Coast Guard could rescue Laporte, and Freeman struggled to swim ashore.

"They were swimming on the lakeside of the pier where the water was the roughest," says Christopher Gill, of the U.S. Coast Guard.

It is not that uncommon for thrill seekers to jump off of the piers at Silver Beach, but 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," continued Gill.

Regardless of how experienced you may be, swimmers should always proceed with caution while in the water.

Just before ending their search for the day, divers recovered the body of David Lambert around 4:15pm on Tuesday.

His body was found near the pier where he is said to have jumped about 20 feet under water.

Please tune in to Newscenter 16 at eleven for more details on this story.


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