Multiple people dead after water rescue on Lake Michigan

Multiple people dead after water rescue on Lake Michigan (Photo: WWMT)


Two individuals are dead, one is in serious condition while two others are stable after Grand Haven Department of Public Safety responded to multiple water rescue calls at the Grand Haven State Park Beach due to hazardous water conditions on Sunday.

Officers were originally called to the beach around noon after reports of a struggling swimmer near the State Pavilion Park building. Authorities said an off-duty firefighter entered the water in an attempt to locate the man and was later joined by five public safety officers and a park ranger.

Bystanders assisted in the search by forming a human chain, where they stood linked by their arms in an attempt to cage off and locate the victim. The 64-year-old Wyoming man, now being identified as David Knaffle, was located around 12:17 p.m. Knaffle was unresponsive and transported to a local hospital after life-saving efforts. He later died due to his injuries.

Bystanders later pulled a 46-year-old man from the water around 3:22 p.m. who was later admitted to North Ottawa Community Health and is listed in serious condition.

Immediately following, officers responded to multiple swimmers north of the pavilion building struggling to swim. Bystanders were able to pull five swimmers from the water, including a 20-year-old man and 17-year-old woman, who were later transported to the hospital and are listed in stable condition.

During the same incident, bystanders formed another human chain in an effort to find a victim who had reportedly gone under water. The 20-year-old was later found in approximately 5-feet of water and was non-responsive. He was later transported to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Authorities said that several other reports of swimmers in distress were received throughout the day. The department assigned more than 25 firefighters and police officers to rescue teams. No other people have been reported missing.


WASHINGTON (Circa) -- The pier and beaches on Lake Michigan at Grand Haven State Park were shut down due to a water rescue affecting multiple victims.

The victims were pulled out of the water and transported to nearby hospitals, WOOD-TV reports. High currents, winds and waves are believed to be the cause for why the rescue occurred.

It is unknown what their current conditions are. It is also unknown how many people were involved or if authorities are searching for more victims.

A view of the scene via EarthCam shows people gathered at the edge of the lake. Beachgoers linked arms earlier in the day in order to help rescue people as seen in video footage from Grand Haven Tribune.

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