U.S. Coast Guard warns of dangerous wave conditions
MARQUETTE, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended the search for two people swept into Lake Superior Tuesday.
The two people missing have been identified as 53-year-old Robert Anderson and 37-year-old Sarah Hall of Iron River. Anderson and Hall were standing at Black Rocks at Presque Isle Park in Marquette when the massive waves reportedly swept over the rocks, pushing them in.
The U.S. Coast Guard says the situation was extremely dangerous, even for those keeping a distance from the water.
“I've never seen anything like it,” said Jerry Mills. “I've been up here 35 years and I’ve never seen anything come close to what was happening.”
Jerry Mills lives in Marquette and does a series of videos highlighting different features around the area, Tuesday's weather being the topic of one.
“I didn't want to go down near the rocks because I know what happens when people do that,” said Mills. “As I was getting ready to shoot this last shot a young man walked out onto the rocks.”
He said everyone started yelling for him to come back to shore, but in that short time the waves washed him off the rocks and into Lake Superior. Mills camera capturing it as he dropped his camera to run to help.
“It happened in an instant he rode the wave up there was nothing for him to grab on and the backwash shot down like it was going to take him out into the lake,” said Mills. “He had exactly one opportunity to get his hand on the rock and he was able to.”
While this man ended up being okay, two others were swept into Lake Superior with the search being suspended late that night. The Coast Guard says survivability with cold water temperatures is about an hour.
“Not only with the wave height and action of the water but the temperatures of the water as well,” said Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City Lieutenant Jon Ardan. “They’re in the upper 40s, mid 40s, and Lake Michigan at least down into the lower 50s.”
It's important to always use good judgement near the great lakes.
“The wave action is gorgeous, we don't get to see the wave action, the winds,” said Ardan. “But it also presents a lot of danger, so safety first, stay clear, you can always get a picture from a far.”
“I think the moral to the story is do not mess with Lake Superior,” said Mills.
The Coast Guard says if you're outside this time of year, always tell someone where you're going, wear appropriate clothing, and ideally have someone else with you.