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Man Drowns In Rip Current In Lake Michigan

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

National Park News

On the afternoon of August 5th, rangers were dispatched to Peterson Beach on Lake Michigan to investigate a report of two missing swimmers.  Ranger Joe Lachowski was first on scene and was directed by several visitors to a man lying on the shore, conscious but wet and pale.  Moments later, several visitors started yelling and pointing towards another man floating face down in the water about 100 feet offshore. Lachowski removed his law enforcement equipment and swam towards the man but was unable to locate him in the rough water. Waves were in the four- to five-foot range and there was a strong rip current in the area. Seconds after Lachowski returned to the beach, visitors started pointing to the victim, now about 50 feet off shore.  Lachowski returned to the water and this time was able to retrieve the unresponsive man. Benzie County EMS personnel and Lachowski performed CPR and applied advanced life support measures, but were unable to revive him. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The man was identified as Kevin Schlake, 40, from Cincinnati, Ohio. According to family members, Schlake was swimming with a brother-in-law (the first victim), and two nephews when they got caught in a rip current.  The brother-in-law and Schlake were able to rescue the two boys from the current, but Schlake started swallowing water and went under.  Rangers and the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.



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