Man struggles while diving for golf balls in St. Joseph River

Published: Aug. 3, 2017 at 1:06 PM EDT
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An adult male went unconscious and underwater in the St. Joseph River in Mishawaka late Thursday morning.

It happened near Eberhart Petro Golf Course. The man ran into trouble while diving in the river to retrieve lost golf balls on the bottom.

For better than a half hour a half dozen or so Mishawaka emergency responders tended to the patient before getting a pulse and calling a stretcher.

It was apparently much easier leaving the unlocked fence around the golf course grounds than it was trying to get into the locked version.

“We arrived on the scene some of the actual golfers were holding the fence up so we could get through (underneath) the fence and to the body,” said Mishawaka Police Lt. Tim Williams. “We arrived on the scene with the fire department and EMS we got him out of the water and they began CPR right away.”

Tom Erhardt had just finishing fishing from his boat when he heard screaming: “and he said, ‘I got a man drowning.”

Erhardt had earlier seen the subject of the river rescue and another man in and around a row boat as the two went diving for golf balls. “It's a dangerous thing to do but they do it all the time,” said Erhardt. “He wasn’t responsive so I don’t know how long he’d been in the water but you know we got him up there until paramedics got there.”

Erhardt later learned that the man’s problems may go deeper than exposure to the water. “Well the gentleman that was with him said he had a heart condition, he thought that he'd had a heart attack when he went under.”