Coast Guard searching for missing swimmer near Gary, Ind.

9th Coast Guard District NewsCLEVELAND – U.S. Coast Guard rescue boatcrews are searching Lake Michigan near Gary, Ind., after receiving a report of a missing swimmer, today at about 4:30 p.m., EDT.

Missing is a 24-year-old man who reportedly got pulled offshore by a rip current about one mile west of Ogden Dunes.

Friends of the man tried to assist him out of the water and lifeguards formed a human chain but were unable to locate him. Coast Guard search crews immediately launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium from Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor, Ill., a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Michigan City, Ind., and an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Waukegan, Ill.

Despite the lack of tidal influences in the Great Lakes, rip currents are an ever present threat to swimmers, anglers, and others recreating along shoreline areas.

The following are tips on identifying, avoiding and escaping rip currents.

  • Identify – Look for changes in water color; water motion; incoming wave shape or breaking point compared to adjacent conditions; channels of churning or choppy water; lines of foam, seaweed or debris moving seaward
  • Avoid – Check the latest National Weather Service forecast for local beach conditions before heading out; learn to swim; learn to swim in surf; never swim alone; swim near a lifeguard; look for posted signs and warning flags indicating hazards; check with lifeguards before swimming and obey their instructions; always assume rip currents are present; if in doubt, don’t go out
  • Escape – Remain calm to conserve energy; don’t fight the current; swim across the current parallel to the shoreline; when out of the current, swim an angle away from the current and toward shore; if you can’t escape, try to float or tread water until the current subsides then swim to shore; if you can’t reach shore, face the shore, wave your arms and yell for help to draw attention
  • Assist – Get help from a lifeguard or if one isn’t available, call 911; throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, ball; yell instructions to escape; don’t become a victim trying to help someone else

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