Coast Guard searching for missing kayaker in Lake Michigan after 2 rescued by local responders

Coast Guard District 9 NewsCLEVELAND — The Coast Guard and local first responders are searching the area near the New Buffalo, Mich., beach breakwall for a missing kayaker Saturday evening after two others were rescued from heavy waves.

Missing is Mitchell Fajman.

Search and rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, were notified at 3:05 p.m. EST by Berrien County 911 dispatch that three kayakers had capsized in the high waves inside the breakwall and only one was able to re-right his kayak. From the shore, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and Berrien County Fire Department were able to recover two of the kayakers, but Fajman remained, in the water and out of reach.

With weather conditions exceeding the operating limits for their 47-foot Motor Life Boat, a team of Coast Guardsmen from Station Michigan City, Ind., drove to the scene with liferings and lifejackets to try to render assistance, arriving at 3:29 p.m.

As rescue crews continued to attempt to throw lines and liferings to Fajman, he was thrown from his kayak in the heavy waves. He was last seen at 5:09 p.m. EST, when he reportedly slipped out of his lifejacket and was observed going under the water.

Searching from the air is a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., aboard an MH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter. They began searching when they arrived on scene at 5:15 p.m. EST.

On scene weather is currently 8-10-foot seas, with waves of 14-15 feet closer to shore.

It is reported that all three men were wearing wetsuits, lifejackets and helmets.

The two men who were rescued were transferred to EMS. Their conditions are unknown.

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