Coast Guard suspends search for man overboard from freighter in Lake Michigan

45-foot RB-MMILWAUKEE — The Coast Guard has suspended the search for a man who reportedly jumped overboard from a freighter near Big Sable Point in Lake Michigan early Sunday morning.

Just before 2 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan received a report, via Rescue 21 on VHF-FM Ch. 16, from the motor vessel Stewart J. Cort, a 989-foot, U.S.-flagged freighter owned by the Interlake Steamship Company, that they had a man overboard approximately 3-4 miles offshore of Big Sable Point. Crew members witnessed the man climb over the rail and jump from the vessel. The crew members immediately deployed three life rings and notified the navigation bridge. The vessel turned and began a systematic search for the man. Due to conditions at the time and the impending weather forecast, the decision was made not to deploy the vessel’s small workboat. The motor vessels Samuel D. Champlain, Joyce L. Van Encevort and Vikingbank were also in the area also began to assist with the search.

Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan launched a crew from Coast Guard Station Manistee, Michigan, aboard a 45-foot response boat and a crews from Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon, Michigan, and Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard Dolphin helicopters. The Coast Guard completed a total of 11 different searches covering 76 square nautical miles. Additionally, multiple commercial vessels in the area participated in the search efforts.

Forecasted weather for the search area include a small-craft advisory in effect from 8 a.m., EDT this Sunday through Monday evening with 20-25 knot winds veering west to 30 knots. Showers and thunderstorms are likely until midday and waves range from 3-5 feet.

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